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Missouri Partner Prevails in Appellate Court for Insured Client

St. Louis Partner Susan M. Kelly prevailed in the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District for our insurance company client and its insured.

Claimant, our client’s employee, sustained compensable, work-related injuries. Following the incident, Claimant filed a claim for compensation for her injuries with the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation. Claimant’s counsel filed a motion to withdraw, stating that Claimant was terminating legal representation, and the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) granted the motion. A new attorney filed an entry of appearance on behalf of Claimant with the Division of Workers’ Compensation. The claim was then set for a pre-hearing before an ALJ, and due to no appearances on behalf Claimant or their attorney, the claim was set on a dismissal docket. Claimant and their attorney failed to appear or contact the ALJ regarding the status of the case, and the ALJ entered an Order of Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute. Claimant was listed on these notices, but their attorney was not. Thereafter, Claimant filed an Application for Review (AFR) with the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission contesting this Order of Dismissal. The AFR provided no reasons that the ALJ’s dismissal was not supported and did not meet the requirements under the workers’ compensation statutes or regulations.

The Defense moved to dismiss Claimant’s AFR, and the Commission agreed; then, Claimant filed a Motion for Reconsideration that the Commission denied. Subsequently, Claimant appealed to the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, and argued that the Commission erred in dismissing their AFR because the application satisfied the minimum pleading requirements of 8 C.S.R. 20-3.030(3)(A).

The Appellate Court found that the Commission had authority to enforce 8 C.S.R. 20­-3.030(3)(A), and that Claimant’s AFR did not specifically state any reason that the ALJ’s findings were not appropriately supported. In November 2023, the Appellate Court affirmed the Commission’s decision and dismissed Claimant’s AFR.

Susan concentrates her practice in the area of workers’ compensation defense litigation, representing employers and their workers’ compensation carriers. She defends insurance companies with a national presence, and has been servicing agents throughout Missouri and Kansas for more than 30 years.