The State ex rel. Sigler, Appellee,
Lubrizol Corporation et al., Appellants.
Submitted June 4, 2013
Appeal from the Court of Appeals for Franklin County, No. 10AP-255, 2011-Ohio-4917.
Bentoff & Duber Co., L.P.A., and Glen Richardson, for appellee.
Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Colleen C. Erdman and Patsy A. Thomas, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellant Industrial Commission.
Weston Hurd, L.L.P., and Michael J. Spisak, for appellant Lubrizol Corporation.
(¶ 1} Appellants, the Industrial Commission and the Lubrizol Corporation, appeal the judgment of the court of appeals granting the request of appellee, Terry Sigler, for a writ of mandamus requiring the commission to vacate its order that overturned a staff hearing officer's award of permanent-total-disability compensation.
(¶ 2} The appellants object to the court of appeals' determination that the commission's hearing did not comport with the due process standards set forth in State ex rel. Ormet Corp. v. Indus. Comm., 54 Ohio St.3d 102, 561 N.E.2d 920 (1990). The court so held because one of the two commissioners voting to overturn had not attended the hearing, but had relied on an oral summary of the evidence from a commission hearing officer who had attended the hearing and taken handwritten notes.
(¶ 3} We agree with the dissenting opinion that Sigler failed to demonstrate that the commission's voting procedures violated due process. We reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and deny the writ.
(¶ 4} Terry Sigler was employed by Lubrizol as a maintenance mechanic when he was injured on September 21, 2001. His workers' compensation claim was allowed for acute myofascial strain lumbar, bulging discs, and radiculopathy.
(¶ 5} On April 13, 2006, Sigler applied for permanent-total-disability compensation. A staff hearing officer approved the award, but the court of appeals ordered the commission to reconsider Sigler's application. State ex rel. Lubrizol v. Indus. Comm., 10th Dist. Franklin No. 07AP-204, 2008-Ohio-463. After a hearing on November 5, 2008, a staff hearing officer again awarded Sigler permanent-total-disability compensation.
(¶ 6} Lubrizol filed a motion for reconsideration before the three-member commission. Following a hearing, the commission issued an order dated August 12, 2009, in which it granted the motion for reconsideration to correct "a clear mistake of law, " vacated the award, and denied Sigler's application. Commissioner Kevin R. Abrams did not attend the hearing. On the order, above the signature of Commissioner Abrams, the order states:
On 08/12/2009, I discussed this matter with Bob Cromley, who was present at the 07/28/09 hearing. Mr. Cromley summarized the testimony, evidence and arguments presented at [the] hearing. After this discussion and a review of all the evidence contained within the claim file, I vote to find jurisdiction and grant the Employer's request for reconsideration, filed 12/26/2008. I further vote to vacate the Staff Hearing Officer order issued 11/20/2008, and to deny the Injured Worker's IC-2 Application for Permanent Total Disability.
(¶ 7} Sigler filed a complaint for a writ of mandamus in the Tenth District Court of Appeals, alleging that the commission had abused its discretion when it issued ...