Pettinato v. Industrial Commission of Arizona

698 P.2d 746 (1984)

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Pettinato v. Industrial Commission of Arizona

Arizona Court of Appeals
698 P.2d 746 (1984)

Facts

On March 21, 1977, Vincent Pettinato (plaintiff) injured his back and knee while working for CTI, Inc. (defendant). Pettinato filed a workers’-compensation claim for benefits, and it was accepted. Subsequently, the claim was closed on the ground that Pettinato had suffered a permanent partial disability, and a notice granting supportive-care benefits was issued. In June 1983, the Industrial Commission of Arizona (the commission) (defendant) found that Pettinato had suffered a 100 percent loss of earning capacity. Pettinato was awarded $666.70 monthly. Pettinato protested the notice for supportive-care benefits. CTI and its carrier, United States Fidelity & Guaranty Company (Fidelity) (defendants), protested against the $666.70 monthly award. Although Pettinato sent interrogatories and discovery requests to CTI and Fidelity and actively prepared for the hearing, CTI and Fidelity did not engage in discovery. When it was represented that Pettinato might be employed by Richard Long, who was his neighbor, Pettinato subpoenaed Long for testimony. A prehearing conference was conducted in early November. At the conference, Pettinato requested that sanctions be issued against CTI and Fidelity in the form of attorney’s fees and costs. The administrative-law judge (ALJ) considered the request, but the hearing moved forward. At the hearing, testimony was given showing that Pettinato’s injuries prevented him from working and that Long did not employ Pettinato. On November 28, the ALJ issued an award finding CTI and Fidelity’s position frivolous, dismissed their request for a hearing, and also denied Pettinato’s request for attorney’s fees and costs. Pettinato requested a review of the denial of attorney’s fees and costs with the commission, but the denial was affirmed. Pettinato appealed, arguing that the ALJ had the authority to award attorney’s fees and costs. Pettinato argued that the commission had the implied power to award fees and costs, and that such fees and costs should have been awarded as sanctions.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ogg, J.)

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