Shaw and Ebel Prevail in Workers’ Comp Case


gavel on table with glasses on books, books in backgroundEastman & Smith members Mark A. Shaw and Melissa A. Ebel defended a commercial airline in an Ohio appellate case involving an alleged exposure to chemicals in the workplace.  The Eighth Appellate District relied on the doctrine of res judicata to bar a flight attendant’s occupational exposure claims.   Res Judicata  is a legal principle that a cause of action may not be relitigated once it has been judged on the merits.

In this matter, claimant originally filed a claim with the Ohio Industrial Commission for alleged exposure to chemicals on the aircraft while engaged in her job duties as a flight attendant.  At hearings before the Commission, Claimant amended her application to allege a cumulative trauma injury occurring over a four day period.  The Commission ruled claimant had not met her burden of proof that her injury or occupational disease developed in the course of and arising out of her employment.  However, instead of appealing the claim to the court of common pleas, claimant filed three new claims with the Ohio Industrial Commission for three of the specific dates she alleged she was exposed to the chemicals in the aircraft.  The Commission found the three new claims repetitive of her initial claim, and denied them based on the doctrine of res judicata.  Claimant then appealed to the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court which also dismissed Claimant’s appeal based on res judicata.  Reviewing the trial court’s decision , the Eighth District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision and dismissed Claimant’s appeal.

Mr. Shaw and Ms. Ebel represent employers in workers’ compensation issues before state courts and administrative agencies.  Should you have any questions regarding workers’ compensation, please contact Mr. Shaw or Ms. Ebel.