NATHALIA L. BROWN, Petitioner,
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICES, Respondent, & PEPCO, Intervenor.
File Date June 9, 2016
March 25, 2015
Petition for Review of an Order of the District of Columbia
Compensation Review Board (CRB-141-10)
Matthew Peffer for petitioner.
O'Connell, with whom Shawn M. Nolen was on the brief, for
B. Nathan, Attorney General for the District of Columbia at
the time, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, and Loren L.
AliKhan, Deputy Solicitor General, filed a statement in lieu
of brief in support of intervenor.
Thompson and Beckwith, Associate Judges, and Farrell, Senior
consideration of the motion, filed by respondent District of
Columbia Department of Employment Services, to publish this
court's March 24, 2016, memorandum opinion and judgment,
regarding the above-referenced matter, and intervenor PEPCO
having filed an answer to consent to the motion, it is
that the motion to publish the memorandum opinion and
judgment is granted, and that the decision be reissued as a
published opinion forthwith.
BECKWITH, ASSOCIATE JUDGE.
earlier appeal in this workers' compensation case, this
court identified some ''unsettled issues concerning
the interpretation of the Workers' Compensation Act and
the procedural rules that the [Compensation Review] Board
follows, '' and remanded the matter to allow the CRB
to address two discrete questions in the first instance: (1)
whether the Board here had the authority to raise sua sponte
a claimant's suspension of benefits under D.C. Code
§ 32-1507 (d) (2012 Repl.), and (2) whether a claimant
who seeks to modify such a suspension may do so only through
complying with the Act's modification procedures,
including specified time limits, as set out in D.C. Code
§ 32-1524 (2012 Repl.). See Brown v. District of
Columbia Dep't of Emp't Servs., 83 A.3d 739,
742, 747–49, 750–52 (D.C. 2014). The CRB answered
both questions in the affirmative. Concluding that the Board
has provided a reasonable interpretation of the statute and
procedural rule, we affirm the decision below.
facts and procedural history of this case are set out fully
in our opinion in Brown, 83 A.3d 739. In brief,
appellant Nathalia Brown suffered work-related injuries while
working for Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) in 1995,
and received temporary total disability benefits from the
company. Id. at 742. Ms. Brown then filed a claim
for permanent total disability benefits, which Administrative
Law Judge (ALJ) Henry W. McCoy denied after concluding that
Ms. Brown was not totally disabled, that she had voluntarily
limited her income, and that she had unreasonably refused to
cooperate with PEPCO's offers of vocational
rehabilitation. ALJ McCoy also suspended Ms. Brown's
temporary total disability benefits ''until such time
as she expresses a willingness to cooperate'' with
the vocational rehabilitation. The CRB affirmed. Rather than
petition for review or express a willingness to cooperate
with the rehabilitation, Ms. Brown filed a separate claim for
permanent partial (rather than total) disability benefits.
See Brown, 83 A.3d at 743. ALJ Nata K. Brown granted
Ms. Brown's request for ...