When the department reverses an examiner's findings and makes independent findings, the latter should be accompanied by a memorandum opinion indicating not only prior consultation with the examiner and review of the record, but a statement or statements of the reasons for reaching a different result or conclusion, particularly when the credibility of witnesses is involved. Transamerica Insurance Co. v. DILHR, 54 Wis. 2d 272
, 195 N.W.2d 656
(1972). See also Mervosh v. LIRC, 2010 WI App 36
, 324 Wis. 2d 134
, 781 N.W.2d 236
The department could properly find no permanent disability in the case of a successful fusion of vertebrae and still retain jurisdiction to determine future disability when doctors testified that there might be future effects. Vernon County v. DILHR, 60 Wis. 2d 736
, 211 N.W.2d 441
In a case involving conflicting testimony in which the department reverses an examiner's findings, fundamental fairness requires a separate statement by the department explaining why it reached its decision, as well as specifically setting forth in the record its consultation with the examiner with respect to impressions or conclusions in regard to the credibility of witnesses. Simonton v. DILHR, 62 Wis. 2d 112
, 214 N.W.2d 302
Sub. (5) is inapplicable if at the original hearing the examiner considered the possibility of both accidental injury and injury caused by occupational disease and denied the applicant benefits. Murphy v. DILHR, 63 Wis. 2d 248
, 217 N.W.2d 370
An award will be affirmed if it is supported by any credible evidence. When there are inconsistencies or conflicts in medical testimony, it is for the department and not the courts to reconcile inconsistencies. Theodore Fleisner, Inc. v. DILHR, 65 Wis. 2d 317
, 222 N.W.2d 600
The authority granted under sub. (3) to modify the findings of a hearing examiner does not extend to the making of findings and an order on an alternative basis of liability neither tried by the parties nor ruled on by the examiner. When another basis of liability is applicable, the examiner's findings must be set aside and an order directing the taking of additional testimony entered, directing the examiner to make new findings as to the substituted basis. Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. v. DILHR, 67 Wis. 2d 185
, 226 N.W.2d 492
The dismissal of an application that was neither based upon a stipulation or compromise nor entered after a hearing was void. The original application was valid though made many years earlier. Kohler Co. v. DILHR, 81 Wis. 2d 11
, 259 N.W.2d 695
The department is not required to make specific findings as to a defense to a worker's claim, but it is better practice to either make findings or state why none were made. Universal Foundry Co. v. DILHR, 82 Wis. 2d 479
, 263 N.W.2d 172
Commission guidelines, formulated as internal standards of credibility in worker's compensation cases, are irrelevant to a court's review of the commission's findings. E. F. Brewer Co. v. DILHR, 82 Wis. 2d 634
, 264 N.W.2d 222
A general finding by the department implies all facts necessary to support it. A finding not explicitly made may be inferred from other properly made findings and from findings that were not made if there is evidence that would support those findings. Valadzic v. Briggs & Stratton Corp. 92 Wis. 2d 583
, 286 N.W.2d 540
An employer was penalized for denying a claim that was not "fairly debatable" under sub. (1) (bp). Kimberly-Clark Corp. v. LIRC, 138 Wis. 2d 58
, 405 N.W.2d 684
(Ct. App. 1987).
Sub. (4) (c) grants the review commission exclusive authority to set aside findings due to newly discovered evidence. The trial court does not possess that authority. Hopp v. LIRC, 146 Wis. 2d 172
, 430 N.W.2d 359
(Ct. App. 1988).
To show bad faith under sub. (1) (bp) a claimant must show that the employer acted without a reasonable basis for the delay and with knowledge or a reckless disregard of the lack of reasonable basis for the delay. North American Mechanical v. LIRC, 157 Wis. 2d 801
, 460 N.W.2d 835
(Ct. App. 1990).
After the commission makes a final order and the review period has passed, the commission's decision is final for all purposes. Kwaterski v. LIRC, 158 Wis. 2d 112
, 462 N.W.2d 534
(Ct. App. 1990).
Sub. (3) does not authorize LIRC to take administrative notice of any fact; review is limited to the record before the hearing examiner. Amsoil, Inc. v. LIRC, 173 Wis. 2d 154
, 496 N.W.2d 150
(Ct. App. 1992).
The commission may not reject a medical opinion absent something in the record to support the rejection; countervailing expert testimony is not required in all cases. Leist v. LIRC, 183 Wis. 2d 450
, 515 N.W.2d 268
(Ct. App. 1994).
Issuance of a default order under sub. (1) (a) is discretionary. Rules of civil procedure do not apply to administrative proceedings. Nothing in the law suggests a default order must be issued in the absence of excusable neglect. Verhaagh v. LIRC, 204 Wis. 2d 154
, 554 N.W.2d 678
(Ct. App. 1996), 96-0470
The commission may not rule on and consider issues on appeal that were not litigated and may not consider evidence not considered by the administrative law judge unless the parties are allowed to offer rebuttal evidence. Wright v. LIRC, 210 Wis. 2d 289
, 565 N.W.2d 221
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-1024
LIRC's authority under s. 102.17 (1) (a) to control its calender and manage its internal affairs necessarily implies the power to deny an applicant's motion to withdraw an application for hearing. An appellant's failure to appear at a hearing after a motion to withdraw the application was denied was grounds for entry of a default judgment under sub. (1) (a). Baldwin v. LIRC, 228 Wis. 2d 601
, 599 N.W.2d 8
(Ct. App. 1999), 98-3090
To demonstrate bad faith under sub. (1) (bp), a claimant must show the absence of a reasonable basis for denying benefits and the defendant's knowledge or reckless disregard of the lack of a reasonable basis for denying the claim. Brown v. LIRC, 2003 WI 142
, 267 Wis. 2d 31
, 671 N.W.2d 279
Because sub. (1) (bp) specifically allows for the imposition of bad faith penalties on an employer for failure to pay benefits, and because s. 102.23 (5) specifically directs the employer to pay benefits pending an appeal when the only issue is who will pay benefits, an employer may be subject to bad faith penalties under sub. (bp), independent from its insurer, when it fails to pay benefits in accordance with s. 102.23 (5). Bosco v. LIRC, 2004 WI 77
, 272 Wis. 2d 586
, 681 N.W.2d 157
Sub. (1) (d) does not prohibit determinations in excess of the highest medical assessment in evidence, but rather creates a presumption of reasonableness for awards that fall within the prescribed range. The statute does not state that an award outside of the prescribed range is unreasonable and does not prohibit DWD from setting minimum loss of use percentages by administrative rule. Daimler Chrysler v. LIRC, 2007 WI 15
, 299 Wis. 2d 1
, 727 N.W.2d 311
Sub. (1) (bp) does not govern the conduct of the department or its agent and does not impose any penalty on the department or its agent for bad faith conduct in administering the uninsured employers fund. Sub. (1) (bp) constitutes the exclusive remedy for the bad faith conduct of an employer or an insurance carrier. Because sub. (1) (bp) does not apply to the department's agent, it does not provide an exclusive remedy for the agent's bad faith. Moreover, s. 102.81 (1) (a) exempts the department and its agent from paying an employee the statutory penalties and interest imposed on an employer or an insurance carrier for their misdeeds, but nothing in s. 102.81 (1) (a) exempts the department or its agent from liability for its bad faith conduct in processing claims. Aslakson v. Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc. 2007 WI 39
, 300 Wis. 2d 92
, 729 N.W.2d 712
Because the parties explicitly stated the only claim against the employer was for accidental injury, the employer could not "know the charges or claims" against it included an occupational disease claim. It never had an opportunity to be heard on "the probative force of the evidence adduced by both sides" as applied to the occupational disease claim, or on the law applicable to the occupational disease claim, either during the hearing or in its brief to the commission. As such, the employer was denied both due process and a "fair hearing" under sub. (1) (a). Waste Management Incorporated v. LIRC, 2008 WI App 50
, 308 Wis. 2d 763
, 747 N.W.2d 782
Once a permanent partial disability award is made, the worker's compensation statutes provide only limited provision for reopening. The statutes do not provide for the reopening of a final award two years after it is rendered in the event the employer rehires the employee. Schreiber Foods, Inc. v. LIRC, 2009 WI App 40
, 316 Wis. 2d 516
, 765 N.W.2d 850
Case law appears to define an order "awarding or denying compensation" in sub. (3) synonymously with an order reaching the merits of the applicant's claim. Although the administrative decisions in this case contemplated the possibility of future action by the claimant, the dismissal was not procedural or rooted in standing doctrines like ripeness but based on a finding that the claimant presented insufficient evidence to substantiate it and did reach the merits. LaBeree v. Wausau Insurance Companies, 2010 WI App 148
, 330 Wis. 2d 101
, 793 N.W.2d 77
The automatic-stay provisions of the federal bankruptcy code froze an employer's obligation to pay claims, including worker's compensation, that were not due at the time of the employer's bankruptcy filing. Accordingly, obligations that became due after filing were not in default and no late-payment penalty could be assessed under sub. (1) (bp). Grede Foundries, Inc. v. Labor and Industry Review Commission, 2012 WI App 86
, 343 Wis. 2d 517
, 819 N.W.2d 850
Alien dependents; payments through consular officers.
In case a deceased employee, for whose injury or death compensation is payable, leaves surviving alien dependents residing outside of the United States, the duly accredited consular officer of the country of which such dependents are citizens or such officer's designated representative residing within the state shall, except as otherwise determined by the department, be the sole representative of the deceased employee and dependents in all matters pertaining to their claims for compensation. The receipt by such officer or agent of compensation funds and the distribution thereof shall be made only upon order of the department, and payment to such officer or agent pursuant to any such order shall be a full discharge of the benefits or compensation. Such consular officer or such officer's representative shall furnish, if required by the department, a bond to be approved by it, conditioned upon the proper application of all moneys received by such person. Before such bond is discharged, such consular officer or representative shall file with the department a verified account of the items of his or her receipts and disbursements of such compensation. Such consular officer or representative shall make interim reports to the department as it may require.
History: 1977 c. 29
Employees confined in institutions; payment of benefits.
In case an employee is adjudged insane or incompetent, or convicted of a felony, and is confined in a public institution and has wholly dependent upon the employee for support a person, whose dependency is determined as if the employee were deceased, compensation payable during the period of the employee's confinement may be paid to the employee and the employee's dependents, in such manner, for such time and in such amount as the department by order provides.
History: 1993 a. 492
Judgment on award.
If any party presents a certified copy of the award to the circuit court for any county, the court shall, without notice, render judgment in accordance with the award. A judgment rendered under this section shall have the same effect as though rendered in an action tried and determined by the court, and shall, with like effect, be entered in the judgment and lien docket.
History: 1995 a. 224
; 2001 a. 37
"Award" under this section means an award that has become final under s. 102.18 (3). Warren v. Link Farms, Inc. 123 Wis. 2d 485
, 368 N.W.2d 688
(Ct. App. 1985).
Payment of awards by municipalities.
Whenever an award is made by the department under this chapter or s. 66.191
, 1981 stats., against any municipality, the person in whose favor it is made shall file a certified copy thereof with the municipal clerk. Within 20 days thereafter, unless an appeal is taken, such clerk shall draw an order on the municipal treasurer for the payment of the award. If upon appeal such award is affirmed in whole or in part the order for payment shall be drawn within 10 days after a certified copy of such judgment is filed with the proper clerk. If more than one payment is provided for in the award or judgment, orders shall be drawn as the payments become due. No statute relating to the filing of claims against, and the auditing, allowing and payment of claims by municipalities shall apply to the payment of an award or judgment under this section.
History: 1983 a. 191
Penalty for delayed payments; interest. 102.22(1)
If the employer or his or her insurer inexcusably delays in making the first payment that is due an injured employee for more than 30 days after the day on which the employee leaves work as a result of an injury and if the amount due is $500 or more, the payments as to which the delay is found shall be increased by 10%. If the employer or his or her insurer inexcusably delays in making the first payment that is due an injured employee for more than 14 days after the day on which the employee leaves work as a result of an injury, the payments as to which the delay is found may be increased by 10%. If the employer or his or her insurer inexcusably delays for any length of time in making any other payment that is due an injured employee, the payments as to which the delay is found may be increased by 10%. Where the delay is chargeable to the employer and not to the insurer s. 102.62
shall apply and the relative liability of the parties shall be fixed and discharged as therein provided. The department may also order the employer or insurance carrier to reimburse the employee for any finance charges, collection charges or interest which the employee paid as a result of the inexcusable delay by the employer or insurance carrier.
If the sum ordered by the department to be paid is not paid when due, that sum shall bear interest at the rate of 10% per year. The state is liable for such interest on awards issued against it under this chapter. The department has jurisdiction to issue award for payment of such interest at any time within one year of the date of its order, or upon appeal after final court determination. Such interest becomes due from the date the examiner's order becomes final or from the date of a decision by the labor and industry review commission, whichever is later.
If upon petition for review the commission affirms an examiner's order, interest at the rate of 7% per year on the amount ordered by the examiner shall be due for the period beginning on the 21st day after the date of the examiner's order and ending on the date paid under the commission's decision. If upon petition for judicial review under s. 102.23
the court affirms the commission's decision, interest at the rate of 7% per year on the amount ordered by the examiner shall be due up to the date of the commission's decision, and thereafter interest shall be computed under sub. (2)
The department can assess the penalty for inexcusable delay in making payments prior to the entry of an order. The question of inexcusable delay is one of law and the courts are not bound by the department's finding as to it. Milwaukee County v. DILHR, 48 Wis. 2d 392
, 180 N.W.2d 513
The penalty under sub. (1) does not bar an action for bad faith for failure to pay a claim. Coleman v. American Universal Insurance Co. 86 Wis. 2d 615
, 273 N.W.2d 220
Judicial review. 102.23(1)(a)(a)
The findings of fact made by the commission acting within its powers shall, in the absence of fraud, be conclusive. The order or award granting or denying compensation, either interlocutory or final, whether judgment has been rendered on it or not, is subject to review only as provided in this section and not under ch. 227
or s. 801.02
. Within 30 days after the date of an order or award made by the commission either originally or after the filing of a petition for review with the department under s. 102.18
any party aggrieved thereby may by serving a complaint as provided in par. (b)
and filing the summons and complaint with the clerk of the circuit court commence, in circuit court, an action against the commission for the review of the order or award, in which action the adverse party shall also be made a defendant. If the circuit court is satisfied that a party in interest has been prejudiced because of an exceptional delay in the receipt of a copy of any finding or order, it may extend the time in which an action may be commenced by an additional 30 days. The proceedings shall be in the circuit court of the county where the plaintiff resides, except that if the plaintiff is a state agency, the proceedings shall be in the circuit court of the county where the defendant resides. The proceedings may be brought in any circuit court if all parties stipulate and that court agrees.
In such an action a complaint shall be served with an authenticated copy of the summons. The complaint need not be verified, but shall state the grounds upon which a review is sought. Service upon a commissioner or agent authorized by the commission to accept service constitutes complete service on all parties, but there shall be left with the person so served as many copies of the summons and complaint as there are defendants, and the commission shall mail one copy to each other defendant.
Except as provided in par. (cm)
, the commission shall serve its answer within 20 days after the service of the complaint, and, within the like time, the adverse party may serve an answer to the complaint, which answer may, by way of counterclaim or cross complaint, ask for the review of the order or award referred to in the complaint, with the same effect as if the party had commenced a separate action for the review thereof.
If an adverse party to the proceeding brought under par. (a)
is an insurance company, the insurance company may serve an answer to the complaint within 45 days after the service of the complaint.
The commission shall make return to the court of all documents and papers on file in the matter, all testimony that has been taken, and the commission's order, findings, and award. Such return of the commission when filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court shall, with the papers specified in s. 809.15
, constitute a judgment roll in the action; and it shall not be necessary to have a transcript approved. The action may thereupon be brought on for hearing before the court upon the record by any party on 10 days' notice to the other; subject, however, to the provisions of law for a change of the place of trial or the calling in of another judge.
Upon such hearing, the court may confirm or set aside such order or award; and any judgment which may theretofore have been rendered thereon; but the same shall be set aside only upon the following grounds:
That the commission acted without or in excess of its powers.
That the findings of fact by the commission do not support the order or award.
Upon the trial of any such action the court shall disregard any irregularity or error of the commission or the department unless it is made to affirmatively appear that the plaintiff was damaged thereby.
The record in any case shall be transmitted to the department within 5 days after expiration of the time for appeal from the order or judgment of the court, unless appeal shall be taken from such order or judgment.
Whenever an award is made against the state the attorney general may bring an action for review thereof in the same manner and upon the same grounds as are provided by sub. (1)
When an action for review involves only the question of liability as between the employer and one or more insurance companies or as between several insurance companies, a party that has been ordered by the department, the commission, or a court to pay compensation is not relieved from paying compensation as ordered.
If the commission's order or award depends on any fact found by the commission, the court shall not substitute its judgment for that of the commission as to the weight or credibility of the evidence on any finding of fact. The court may, however, set aside the commission's order or award and remand the case to the commission if the commission's order or award depends on any material and controverted finding of fact that is not supported by credible and substantial evidence.
Judicial Council Committee's Note, 1976: The procedure for initiating a petition for judicial review under ch. 102 is governed by the provisions of s. 102.23 rather than the provisions for initiating a civil action under s. 801.02. [Re Order effective Jan. 1, 1977]
The fact that a party appealing from a DILHR order as to unemployment compensation labeled his petition "under 227.15" [now 227.52], is immaterial since the circuit court had subject matter jurisdiction. An answer by the department that s. 227.15 [now 227.52] gave no jurisdiction amounted to an appearance, and the department could not later claim that the court had no personal jurisdiction because the appellant had not served a summons and complaint. Lees v. DILHR, 49 Wis. 2d 491
, 182 N.W.2d 245
A finding of fact, whether ultimate or evidentiary, is still in its essential nature a fact, whereas a conclusion of law accepts those facts, and by judicial reasoning results from the application of rules or concepts of law to those facts whether undisputed or not. Kress Packing Co. v. Kottwitz, 61 Wis. 2d 175
, 212 N.W.2d 97
A challenge to the constitutionality of sub. (1) was not sustained since it is manifest from the statute that the legislature intended to have the department be the real party in interest and not a mere nominal party. Hunter v. DILHR, 64 Wis. 2d 97
, 218 N.W.2d 314
When the claimant timely appealed an adverse worker's compensation decision in good faith, but erroneously captioned the appeal, the trial court abused its discretion by dismissing the action. Cruz v. DILHR, 81 Wis. 2d 442
, 260 N.W.2d 692
An employer whose unemployment compensation account is not affected by the commission's determination has no standing to seek judicial review. Cornwell Personnel Associates v. DILHR, 92 Wis. 2d 53
, 284 N.W.2d 706
(Ct. App. 1979).
An agency's mixed conclusions of law and findings of fact may be analyzed by using 2 methods: 1) the analytical method of separating law from fact; or 2) the practical or policy method that avoids law and fact labels and searches for a rational basis for the agency's decision. United Way of Greater Milwaukee v. DILHR, 105 Wis. 2d 447
, 313 N.W.2d 858
(Ct. App. 1981).
A failure to properly serve the commission pursuant to sub. (1) (b) results in a jurisdictional defect rather than a mere technical error. Gomez v. LIRC, 153 Wis. 2d 686
, 451 N.W.2d 475
(Ct. App. 1989).
Discretionary reversal is not applicable to judicial review of LIRC orders under ch. 102. There is no power to reopen a matter that has been fully determined under ch. 102. Kwaterski v. LIRC, 158 Wis. 2d 112
, 462 N.W.2d 534
(Ct. App. 1990).
A LIRC decision is to be upheld unless it directly contravenes the words of the statute, is clearly contrary to legislative intent, or is otherwise without a rational basis. Wisconsin Electric Power Co. v. LIRC, 226 Wis. 2d 778
, 595 N.W.2d 23
An appeal under s. 102.16 (2m) (e) of a department determination may be served under sub. (1) (b) on the department or the commission. McDonough v. Department of Workforce Development, 227 Wis. 2d 271
, 595 N.W.2d 686
Under s. 102.23 (1) (a), judicial review is available only from an order or award granting or denying compensation. Judicial review by common law certiorari was not available for a claim that LIRC failed to act within the statutory time limitations under sub. (4), which would be subject to judicial review of any subsequent order or award granting or denying compensation in that case. Vidal v. LIRC, 2002 WI 72
, 253 Wis. 2d 426
, 645 N.W.2d 870
The plaintiff complied with the requirement of sub. (1) that every adverse party be made a defendant by naming the defendant's insurer in the caption of the summons and complaint, which were timely filed and served even though the insurer was not mentioned in the complaint's body. Selaiden v. Columbia Hospital, 2002 WI App 99
, 253 Wis. 2d 553
, 644 N.W.2d 690
Sub. (5) requires an employer to make payment to a disabled employee pending appeal of a date of injury defense in an occupational disease case when the employer's liability is not disputed on appeal and the only question is who will pay benefits. Bosco v. LIRC, 2004 WI 77
, 272 Wis. 2d 586
, 681 N.W.2d 157
Because s. 102.18 (1) (bp) specifically allows for the imposition of bad faith penalties on an employer for failure to pay benefits and because sub. (5) specifically directs the employer to pay benefits pending an appeal when the only issue is who will pay benefits, an employer may be subject to bad faith penalties under s. 102.18 (1) (bp), independent from its insurer, when it fails to pay benefits in accordance with sub. (5). Bosco v. LIRC, 2004 WI 77
, 272 Wis. 2d 586
, 681 N.W.2d 157
Under Miller an "adverse party" for worker's compensation actions in circuit court includes any party bound by the Commission's order or award granting or denying compensation to the claimant. The interests of an adverse party need not necessarily be adverse to the party filing a circuit court action. Xcel Energy Services, Inc. v. LIRC, 2012 WI App 19
, 339 Wis. 2d 413
, 810 N.W.2d 865
Failure to name an adverse party as a defendant under sub. (1) (a) deprives the circuit court of competency and requires dismissal of the complaint. "Adverse party" includes every party whose interest in relation to the judgment or decree appealed from is in conflict with the modification or reversal sought by the action for judicial review. Xcel Energy Services, Inc. v. LIRC, 2013 WI 64
, ___ Wis. 2d ___, ___ N.W.2d ___, 11-0203
Judicial review of workmen's compensation cases. Haferman, 1973 WLR 576.
Remanding record. 102.24(1)(1)
Upon the setting aside of any order or award, the court may recommit the controversy and remand the record in the case to the commission for further hearing or proceedings, or it may enter the proper judgment upon the findings of the commission, as the nature of the case shall demand. An abstract of the judgment entered by the trial court upon the review of any order or award shall be made by the clerk of circuit court upon the judgment and lien docket entry of any judgment which may have been rendered upon the order or award. Transcripts of the abstract may be obtained for like entry upon the judgment and lien dockets of the courts of other counties.
After the commencement of an action to review any award of the commission the parties may have the record remanded by the court for such time and under such condition as they may provide, for the purpose of having the department act upon the question of approving or disapproving any settlement or compromise that the parties may desire to have so approved. If approved the action shall be at an end and judgment may be entered upon the approval as upon an award. If not approved the record shall forthwith be returned to the circuit court and the action shall proceed as if no remand had been made.
Appeal from judgment on award. 102.25(1)
Any party aggrieved by a judgment entered upon the review of any order or award may appeal therefrom within the time period specified in s. 808.04 (1)
. A trial court shall not require the commission or any party to the action to execute, serve or file an undertaking under s. 808.07
or to serve, or secure approval of, a transcript of the notes of the stenographic reporter or the tape of the recording machine. The state is a party aggrieved under this subsection if a judgment is entered upon the review confirming any order or award against it. At any time before the case is set down for hearing in the court of appeals or the supreme court, the parties may have the record remanded by the court to the department in the same manner and for the same purposes as provided for remanding from the circuit court to the department under s. 102.24 (2)
It shall be the duty of the clerk of any court rendering a decision affecting an award of the commission to promptly furnish the commission with a copy of such decision without charge.