Beaumont justices reinstate workers' comp case

By David Yates | May 25, 2010


A woman who sued Texas Mutual Insurance after her workers' compensation benefits were cut off had her case reinstated by the Ninth Court of Appeals of Texas on May 20.

A former Community Healthcare Foundation employee, Elizabeth Langston suffered an on-the-job injury on June 15, 2003. She received workers' comp benefits from Texas Mutual Insurance Co. and also filed a third-party claim as a result of the incident, court papers show.

In 2005, Langston settled her third-party suit. Under the settlement, Langston agreed that Texas Mutual was entitled to a "statutory credit for any future supplemental income benefits equal to $13,633.33," stated the Ninth Court's opinion, authored by Justice Hollis Horton.

However, shortly after settling the third-party claim, Langston requested that Texas Mutual pay supplemental income benefits, filing three additional requests for supplemental benefits.

Texas Mutual disputed each of Langston's requests and on Oct. 2, 2006, following a benefit review conference, the benefits review officer with the Texas Department of Insurance determined that Texas Mutual was not liable to Langston on her claims for supplemental income benefits, court papers say.

In response, Langston filed suit on Jan. 15, 2007, seeking judicial review of the department's decision to deny her claims for supplemental income benefits.

Arguing that there was no evidence in her case, Texas Mutual filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted by Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, on June 1, 2009.

Langston appealed Judge Floyd's ruling and nearly a year later Beaumont justices reversed his decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.

"In this worker's compensation case, we must decide whether the trial court properly granted the carrier's motion for summary judgment," states the court's opinion.

"Based upon the standards of review applicable to no-evidence and traditional summary-judgment motions, we conclude that the nonmovant produced sufficient evidence to defeat the insurance carrier's motion for summary judgment. Consequently, we reverse the trial court's judgment and remand the cause for further proceedings."

Justices concluded that Langston provided a sufficient doctor's report as evidence of her disabled condition. The further concluded that the summary-judgment record does not contain a "record" as required by the Texas Administrative Code showing that Langston could work during the qualifying periods for the quarters in question, the opinion states.

Langston is represented in part by attorney John Werner of the Reaud, Morgan & Quinn law firm.

Texas Mutual is represented in part by attorney Karen R. Bennett.

Trial case No. E178-429
Appeals case No. 09-09-00293-CV

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