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Stackhouse v. District of Columbia Department of Employment Services

Court of Appeals of Columbia District

March 19, 2015

BURNICE STACKHOUSE, PETITIONER,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICES, RESPONDENT

Submitted January 13, 2015.

(CRB-108-13).

Matthew Peffer was on the brief for petitioner.

Irvin B. Nathan, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, Loren L. AliKhan, Deputy Solicitor General, and Mary L. Wilson, Senior Assistant Attorney General, were on the brief for respondent.

Before EASTERLY and McLEESE, Associate Judges, and KING, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 637

Petition for Review of an Order of the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services Compensation Review Board

McLeese, Associate Judge :

Petitioner Burnice Stackhouse seeks review of an order denying him workers' compensation benefits for the period between a scheduled medical examination that he missed and a later medical examination that he attended. The Compensation Review Board (" CRB" ) decided that Mr. Stackhouse was not entitled to benefits during that period. We affirm.

I.

The following facts are undisputed in this court. Mr. Stackhouse was a sanitation worker for the District of Columbia Department of Public Works (" DPW" ). In 1993, Mr. Stackhouse injured his left ankle and his back in a work-related incident. He has not thereafter returned to work and, with some interruptions not relevant here, has been receiving workers' compensation benefits since the incident.

In August 2012, Mr. Stackhouse was notified by regular and certified mail that, if he wished to continue to receive benefits, he was required to attend a medical examination on September 6, 2012. A copy of the notice was also faxed to Mr. Stackhouse's attorney. Mr. Stackhouse did not claim the certified letter, which was returned to DPW. The letter sent by regular mail was not returned. Mr. Stackhouse did not attend the examination, so DPW notified him that it had suspended his benefits. After receiving the notification that his benefits had been suspended, Mr. Stackhouse contacted DPW, and another medical examination was scheduled for October 11, 2012. Mr. Stackhouse attended that examination, and DPW reinstated his benefits beginning on October 11, 2012.

Mr. Stackhouse filed a claim seeking benefits for the period from September 6, 2012, to October 11, 2012. After a formal hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (" ALJ" ) found that Mr. Stackhouse received notice of the first examination. Mr. Stackhouse has not challenged that ruling. The ALJ also concluded that Mr. Stackhouse was not entitled to receive retroactive benefits for the period of suspension. Mr. Stackhouse requested review of that conclusion, and the CRB affirmed. Specifically, the CRB interpreted the applicable statute and regulation to preclude retroactive payment of benefits suspended due to a claimant's failure to submit to a medical evaluation. See D.C. Code ยง 1-623.23 (d) (2012 Repl.) (right to compensation suspended until ...


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