by
The intermediate court of appeals (ICA) did not err in ruling that an injury suffered by Plaintiff that arose while she worked as a Public Health Educator IV for the State Department of Health (DOH) resulted from an “accident occurring while in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place” and was therefore a covered injury under Haw. Rev. Stat. 88-336. Section 88-336 provides service-connected disability retirement benefits under the Employees’ Retirement System’s (ERS) Hybrid Plan to Class H public officers and employees, such as Petitioner. Petitioner submitted an application for service-connected disability retirement in connection with permanent incapacitating injuries she suffered to her elbow, arm, and hand. A hearing officer concluded that Petitioner’s excessive keyboarding over a period of time did not constitute an “accident” because it did not occur at a “specific time and place.” The ERS denied Petitioner’s application. The circuit court affirmed. The ICA vacated the circuit court’s decision and remanded to the circuit court with directions to vacate the ERS Board’s denial of disability retirement to Petitioner. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Petitioner’s injury occurred “while in the actual performance of duty at some definite time and place.” View "Pasco v. Board of Trustees of the Employees’ Retirement System" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission (Commission) declining to approve the agreement entered into Employer and Employee that Employer would make a lump sum payment to fully satisfy Employee’s award of permanent total disability benefits. Employee received a work-related injury and filed a workers’ compensation claim against Employer. A final award granted Employee permanent total disability benefits to be paid weekly. The parties later agreed that Employee would make a lump sum benefit to fully satisfy the award. The Commission declined to approve the agreement, concluding that the Commission had no authority to approve the agreement either as a settlement under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.390 or as an application for a “commutation” under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.530. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the Commission did not have the authority to consider or approve the agreement under section 287.390; and (2) the Commission properly refused to approve a commutation pursuant to the agreement. View "Dickemann v. Costco Wholesale Corp." on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed an Administrative Hearing Commission (Commission) decision allowing the director of revenue to redistribute tax revenue owed to the City of Lee’s Summit but erroneously paid to Cass County. Cass County sought a writ prohibiting the director of revenue from withholding the tax revenue and redistributing it to Lee’s Summit, arguing that the director lacked the authority to undertake such an action because this was a refund matter and no application for a refund was filed. The court of appeals ruled that a writ was inappropriate because the County had an adequate remedy by appeal to the Commission. On appeal to commission, the County was denied relief. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that this was not a refund matter contemplated by Mo. Rev. Stat. 144.190.2, and accordingly, the County failed to demonstrate that the Commission's decision was not authorized by law. View "Cass County, Missouri, v. Director of Revenue" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court affirmed as modified the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission’s determination that because Robert Casey’s exposure to asbestos occurred while he was employed by Employer, its insurer (Insurer), was liable to Dolores Murphy, Casey’s widow, for benefits under Mo. Rev. Stat. 287.200.4. Casey died from mesothelioma caused by repeated exposure to asbestos in the workplace. An administrative law judge (ALJ) found Employer liable and awarded section 287.200.4’s enhanced mesothelioma benefits to Murphy and Casey’s eight children. The Commission largely affirmed, limiting recovery to Murphy and determining Murphy to be the sole proper claimant because the amended claim did not identify Casey’s child as dependents or claimants. The Supreme Court modified the Commission’s decision to include Casey’s children in the final award and otherwise affirmed, holding (1) Insurer was liable for the enhanced mesothelioma benefits; (2) section 287.022 is constitutional as applied; and (3) because section 287.200.4 does not limit recovery to dependent children and because the children were properly listed on the amended claim, they should have been included in the final award. View "Accident Fund Insurance Co. v. Casey" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order dismissing an action brought by the United States and the Walker River Paiute Tribe against the Walker River Irrigation District and others over water rights in the Walker River basin. In 2015, without briefing or argument on the issue, the district court sua sponte dismissed all of the Tribe's and the United States' counterclaims on res judicata or jurisdictional grounds. The panel held that the district court had continuing jurisdiction over the counterclaims and that it erred in dismissing the claims on res judicata or jurisdictional grounds without giving the parties an opportunity to brief the issue. On remand, the panel ordered the reassignment of this case to another district judge. View "United States v. Walker River Irrigation District" on Justia Law

by
The Ninth Circuit certified to the Supreme Court of Nevada the following question: Does the public trust doctrine apply to rights already adjudicated and settled under the doctrine of prior appropriation and, if so, to what extent? View "Mineral County v. Walker River Irrigation District" on Justia Law

by
Farmers filed suit alleging injury to their water rights after the Nevada State Engineer and the California State Water Resources Control Board approved change applications for a voluntary water rights leasing program managed by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in the Walker River Basin. The Ninth Circuit principally held that the Decree court failed to defer to the findings and conclusions of the state agencies and, to the extent the Decree court entered its own findings, those findings were clear error. In this case, the Engineer properly found that a transfer to the Foundation limited to the consumption portion would avoid conflict and injury to other existing water rights, the findings were supported by substantial evidence, and the Engineer applied the correct legal rule. The panel also held that the export restriction of the Walker River Decree did not prohibit delivering water to Walker Lake because Walker Lake was part of the Walker River Basin. View "United States v. U.S. Board of Water Commissioners" on Justia Law

by
The DC Circuit denied petitions for review of the Commission's two orders directing the Postal Service to include among the "costs attributable" to competitive products those costs that would disappear were the Postal Service to stop offering those products for sale. Petitioner, UPS, argued that the cost attribution methodology the Commission used was both inconsistent with the statute that gives the Commission its regulatory authority and arbitrary and capricious. The court held that the orders did not conflict with the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, because the Commission's reading of "institutional costs" was reasonable; UPS failed to show that the Accountability Act unambiguously compelled a reading of "indirect postal costs" that included only those costs that were shared across products; and Chevron deference was appropriate in this case. The court also held that the orders were not arbitrary, capricious, nor an abuse of discretion, because the Commission properly recognized that its role was to carry out the particulars of the scheme Congress created, not to engineer specific market outcomes. Finally, the Commission's adoption of an incremental-cost approach to attribution was not arbitrary nor capricious. View "United Parcel Service, Inc. v. PRC" on Justia Law

by
In this real-property-valuation case, the Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) finding that the appraisal report presented by the Washington County Board of Revision and Washington County auditor (collectively, the County) constituted the most competent and probative evidence of the value of the subject property for tax year 2013. The BTA relied on the County’s report to value a property owned by Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc./Lowe’s Home Centers, LLC (collectively, Lowe’s), even though Lowe’s presented its own appraisal report. The Supreme Court vacated the BTA’s decision, holding (1) the Court’s decisions in Steak ’N Shake, Inc. v. Warrant County Board of Revision, 48 N.E.3d 535 (Ohio 2015), Rite Aid of Ohio, Inc. v. Washington County Board of Revision, 54 N.E.3d 1177 (Ohio 2016), and Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. v. Washington County Board of Revision, 49 N.E.3d 1266 (Ohio 2016), provide the proper guideposts for resolving this controversy; and (2) because the BTA had yet to evaluate the evidence in light of the legal standards articulated in these three decisions, the case must be remanded for further proceedings. View "Lowe's Home Centers, Inc. v. Washington County Board of Revision" on Justia Law

by
Appellants, Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC (Algonquin) and Public Service Company of New Hampshire d/b/a Eversource Energy (Eversource), appealed a New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) order dismissing Eversource’s petition for approval of a proposed contract for natural gas capacity, as well as a program to set parameters for the release of capacity and the sale of liquefied natural gas made available to electric generators, and/or an associated tariff. Appellees, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC (NextEra), Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), and the Office of the Consumer Advocate (OCA), appeared in opposition to this appeal. In denying Eversource’s petition, the PUC first ruled “that the overriding purpose of the Restructuring Statute is to introduce competition to the generation of electricity” with the “long-term results [to] be lower prices and a more productive economy.” The PUC then further ruled that “[t]o achieve that purpose, RSA 374-F:3, III directs the restructuring of the industry, separating generation activities from transmission and distribution activities, and unbundling the rates associated with each of the separate services.” Given these rulings, the PUC concluded that “the basic premise of Eversource’s proposal — having an EDC purchase long-term gas capacity to be used by electric generators — runs afoul of the Restructuring Statute’s functional separation requirement.” The NEw Hampshire Supreme Court disagreed. Pursuant to its plain language, and reading the statute as a whole, the Court discerned the primary intent of the legislature in enacting RSA chapter 374- F was to reduce electricity costs to consumers. The Court disagreed with the PUC’s ruling that the legislature’s “overriding purpose” was “to introduce competition to the generation of electricity.” Rather, as the statute provides, the legislature intended to “harness[ ] the power of competitive markets,” as a means to reduce costs to consumers, not as an end in itself. Likewise, the Court disagreed with the PUC’s ruling that RSA 374-F:3, III directed the “functional separation” of generation services from transmission and distribution services and elevates that single policy principle over the others identified in the statute. Therefore, the Supreme Court held the PUC erred in dismissing Eversource’s petition as a matter of law. In light of its decision, the Court did not address the appellant’s remaining arguments. View "Appeal of Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC" on Justia Law