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The Commission cannot reject a claim for failure to reply by the worker



On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of Idaho revived a workers' claim for damages and found that the Industrial Commission acted beyond its powers by dismissing the case based on a woman's failure to respond immediately to requests for discovery.

Taleetha Fuentes worked for Cavco Industries Inc. when she filed a claim for an injury to her hands. The company's insurer first denied liability for the claim and later served Fuente's interrogation and a request for submission of documents, according to information in Fuentes v. Cavco Industries Inc filed in Boise.

When Fuentes did not respond to requests for discovery within 36 days, the insurer's agent sent a "reminder letter" to her agent granting Fuentes another 1

0 days to respond, stating that a request for enforcement could be filed – reportedly beginning in months of delays which ultimately led to the Commission rejecting the claim without prejudice.

Five months later, Fuente finally submitted a response to the requests for discovery.

The insurer filed a motion to reject Fuente's motion. the claim was not an active complaint, as it had been rejected. Fuentes then submitted a request to leave the dismissal, claiming that she was entitled to declaratory relief. The Commission rejected Fuente's request for a declaratory decision, as well as her request for reconsideration.

In its appeal, the Supreme Court said that the Commission acted beyond its power and misapplied state law, dismissing the case and finding that there was no evidence that Fuentes had not taken action in her six-month case. Thus, by rejecting the claim, the court said, the Commission "completely failed to follow its own procedure" after incorrectly identifying the wrong code as the governing legal standard.

WorkCompCentral is a sister publication to Business Insurance. . More stories here .

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