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State ex rel. Bonnlander v. Hamon

Supreme Court of Ohio

May 30, 2017

The State ex rel. Bonnlander, Appellant,
v.
Hamon et al.; Industrial Commission of Ohio, Appellee.

          Submitted April 4, 2017

         Appeal from the Court of Appeals for Franklin County, No. 14AP-855, 2015-Ohio-4038.

          Lisa M. Clark, for appellant.

          Michael DeWine, Attorney General, and Eric J. Tarbox, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

          Per Curiam.

         {¶ 1} Appellant, Timothy Bonnlander, has appealed the judgment of the Tenth District Court of Appeals denying his request for a writ of mandamus that would compel appellee, Industrial Commission, to award him compensation for permanent total disability resulting from his workplace injury. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment of the court of appeals.

         {¶ 2} Bonnlander was injured in a motor-vehicle accident while in the course and scope of his employment on October 13, 1992. His workers' compensation claim was allowed for numerous medical conditions and depressive disorder.

         {¶ 3} Bonnlander returned to work after the accident in various positions in the construction industry. He also worked for nine years for the postal service, in maintenance and as a mail carrier. He last worked in December 2008.

         {¶ 4} On February 28, 2014, Bonnlander applied for permanent-total-disability benefits, submitting a report from his treating psychologist in support of his application. John J. Brannan, M.D., and Debjani Sinha, Ph.D., examined Bonnlander on behalf of the commission. Dr. Brannan concluded that Bonnlander's medical conditions would not prevent him from performing sedentary work. Dr. Sinha evaluated Bonnlander's psychological condition and concluded that he was capable of working "part-time, up to 4 hours a day, " with the following limitations: "accommodate for variable concentration; routine jobs are more appropriate; minimal new learning on an ongoing basis; multiple breaks."

         {¶ 5} Following a hearing, a staff hearing officer relied on the reports of Drs. Brannan and Sinha and concluded that Bonnlander "could engage [in] sedentary employment activity which involves part-time work, up to four hours a day and also involves routine employment and minimal new learning on an ongoing basis. The sedentary work should also avoid overhead use of the right arm and avoid excessive lifting, bending and twisting."

          {¶ 6} The hearing officer also analyzed Bonnlander's nonmedical disability factors and concluded, "[b]ased upon [Bonnlander's] age, education and work experience as well as the restrictions noted by Dr. Brannan and Dr. Sinha, " that Bonnlander was not permanently and totally disabled.

         {¶ 7} Bonnlander filed a complaint in mandamus alleging that the commission abused its discretion by entering an order that was not supported by any evidence in the record.

         {¶ 8} A magistrate concluded that Dr. Sinha's report supported the commission's decision. The magistrate determined that the commission "adopted all of the 'restrictions' noted" in the reports of Drs. Brannan and Sinha and that Dr. Sinha's opinion that Bonnlander can work "up to 4 hours a day" met the standard for part-time work set forth in State ex rel. Sheller-Chiles v. Indus. Comm., 10th Dist. Franklin No. 13AP-245, 2014-Ohio-313, ¶ 5.

         {¶ 9} In a two-to-one decision, the court of appeals adopted the magistrate's decision and denied the writ. According to the dissenting judge, Dr. ...


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