Superior Industries v. Thomaston

32 S.W.3d 52, 72 Ark. App. 7 (2000)

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Superior Industries v. Thomaston

Arkansas Court of Appeals
32 S.W.3d 52, 72 Ark. App. 7 (2000)

Facts

On July 12, 1996, William Thomaston (plaintiff) injured his shoulder during his employment with Superior Industries (Superior) (defendant) and was compensated based on a 5 percent permanent impairment rating. Thomaston was later terminated by Superior. Thomaston thereafter filed for temporary total disability from August 25, 1998, the date of his termination, through January 14, 1999, the date of his shoulder surgery. Superior disputed the total-disability claim, arguing that Thomaston was terminated for misconduct not related to his physical limitations, and that light-duty employment was made available to him. The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission awarded Thomaston temporary total-disability benefits and found the reason behind Thomaston’s termination to be irrelevant in determining his entitlement to total-disability benefits. Superior appealed, arguing that an improper legal standard was applied by the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission in making its award. According to Superior, by analogy, if Arkansas workers’-compensation laws find a claimant who refuses suitable employment disqualified from temporary total-disability benefits, a claimant should also be disqualified for termination due to misconduct.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Robbins, C.J.)

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