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Case Law Update: Summary Judgment in Worker’s Compensation

Herman v. Power Maintenance & Constructors, LLC., No. 4-0800509 (2/19/09) reversed a decision and ruled that because of the doctrine of judicial admissions is not intended to punish unintentional mistakes and confusion, plaintiff’s misstatement at first summary judgment hearing that plaintiff’s cause of action accrued when defendant initially laid plaintiff off will not be treated as a judicial admission. Further, trial court erred when it granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment, dismissing plaintiff’s complaint for retaliatory discharge; because, although defendant initially laid plaintiff off when his medical limitations as result of work related injury prevented him from performing the work that was required, its subsequent letter to union refusing to recall him allegedly because of poor work performance could have been pretextual reason for retaliation because he filed workers’ compensation claim. This case will have an effect on worker’s compensation cases.