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Ralphs Grocery Co. v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board

Court of Appeal of California
68 Cal. Rptr. 2d 161 (1997)


Facts

Mark Moeller worked for Ralphs Grocery Company (Ralphs) (plaintiff). In October 1991, Moeller went on disability leave due to an injury. The following month, while Moeller was still on leave, Moeller was laid off. On June 1, 1992, Ralphs called Moeller at home and informed him that he could report back to work the next day. However, Moeller was informed that the work would be part-time and without benefits. The compensation was also much less than Moeller had been paid by Ralphs prior to his going on leave. At the time, Moeller had colon cancer and significant medical bills. Shortly after the phone call from Ralphs, Moeller suffered a heart attack and died that night. According to Moeller’s doctors, the stress of Moeller learning that he could only work part-time and without benefits triggered the heart attack. Moeller’s wife filed for workers’ compensation benefits with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (board) (defendant). The board awarded Mrs. Moeller compensation, determining that Moeller’s heart attack happened during the course of his employment. Ralphs filed a writ petition, seeking review of the board’s decision.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Ortega, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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