In a recent appeal before the Workers Compensation Appellate Division, an employee argued that an ALJ erred in assessing paralegal expenses as a litigation cost.  Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 34-9-108(b)(4), the Code limits reasonable litigation expenses to witness fees and mileage pursuant to Code Section 24-10-24; reasonable expert witness fees subject to the fee schedule; reasonable deposition transcript cost; and the cost of the hearing transcripts.  After reviewing the Code section, the Court determined that paralegal time is not a reasonable litigation expense as defined under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-108(b)(4).

In the same appeal, the employee also argued that there was no basis to award a fee for the employee’s failure to attend an independent medical examination.  The Court found that O.C.G.A. § 34-9-108 allows for the reimbursement of reasonable litigation expenses, which includes witness and expert witness fees.  Since O.C.G.A. § 34-9-102 states that a medical report by an examining physician shall be admissible as evidence, then the fee for the employee’s failure to attend the independent medical examination was proper.  The Court concluded that the fee was a reasonable litigation expense properly assessed against the employee since the fee was an expense incurred by the employer for the purpose of obtaining a medical opinion from an expert witness to be presented at the hearing.

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The adverse attorney may “cross-examine” a witness by interrogating him or her in open court. The adverse attorney aims to highlight the deficiencies in the witness’ testimony, expose inconsistencies, or elicit facts that are favorable to the other party. Commonly in...

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5 Tips to Stay Safe in the Workplace [infographic]

5 Tips to Stay Safe in the Workplace [infographic]

In spite of training about safety, some workplace injuries are inevitable due to the nature of the work itself. However, as you can see in this infographic, you can minimize the casualty or the inflicted injury if you know the risks and hazards around your workplace....

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