City of Guntersville v. Looney, Ala

Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama

Marshall County | No. 2190773 | March 21, 2021

Appellate Court Upholds Worker Compensation for Plaintiff, Rejecting "Return-to-Work Statute" Argument

The case revolved around Looney's injury from a 2012 work-related accident. Both Dr. Anderson and Dr. Johnson testified that this accident exacerbated Looney's pre-existing back issues. Vocational experts determined that Looney was mostly limited to sedentary jobs, with one expert deeming him 100% vocationally disabled. The trial court ruled in favor of Looney, stating that the 2012 accident caused his permanent disability and granting him worker compensation benefits based on this.

The City appealed this judgment, referencing the "return-to-work statute," which they believed should be applied in this case. However, the appellate court upheld the trial court's decision, referencing past cases to argue that the statute did not apply since Looney was not working at the trial's time. Additionally, while the City claimed that Looney refused reasonable accommodations, the evidence showed that his deteriorating health made the City's job offers unsuitable.

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