Labrosse v. State, 071421 AKWC, 21-0058

Docket NºAWCB Decision 21-0058
Case DateJuly 14, 2021
CourtAlaska
DANIEL LABROSSE, Petitioner,
v.
STATE OF ALASKA, WORKERS' COMPENSATION REEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS ADMINISTRATOR Respondent.
AWCB Decision No. 21-0058
AWCB Case No. 700007935
Alaska Workers Compensation Board
July 14, 2021
         INTERLOCUTORY DECISION AND ORDER           Jung M. Yeo, Designated Chair          Petitioner Daniel LaBrosse’s April 27, 2021 petition was heard on June 14, 2021, in Fairbanks, Alaska, a date selected on May 11, 2021. A May 11, 2021 hearing request gave rise to this hearing. Attorney Rene Broker appeared and represented Petitioner. Attorney Grace Lee appeared and represented Respondent Reemployment Benefits Administrator (RBA) Stacy Niwa. LaBrosse and Niwa appeared and testified. All parties, representatives and witnesses appeared via telephone. The panel found the RBA abused her discretion and orally granted LaBrosse’s petition. It also issued oral orders compelling the parties to file additional evidence and continuing the hearing; this decision examines the finding and the oral orders.          ISSUES          LaBrosse contended the RBA violated due process by prematurely removing his name from its rehabilitation specialist referral list. He contended the disqualification of a specialist becomes “effective 10 days after service of the administrator’s decision,” and this effective date would not be triggered if “a written request for board review is filed” within the 10 days. LaBrosse contended the RBA improperly suspended him prior to the “board review.” The RBA contended she acted within her discretion in removing LaBrosse from the list pending final board review. She contended the RBA has discretion to effectuate the reemployment benefits program at every step of the process including disqualification.          1) Did the RBA abuse her discretion when she removed LaBrosse from the rehabilitation specialist referral list and issued the proposed disqualification letter on the same date?          2)Were the oral orders seeking additional evidence and continuing the hearing correct?          FINDINGS OF FACT          A preponderance of the evidence establishes the following facts and factual conclusions:          1) On March 10, 2021, the RBA issued and served LaBrosse a proposed disqualification letter. On the same date, she removed him from the rehabilitation specialist referral list. (Niwa; record).          2) On March 31, 2021, LaBrosse filed a written request with the RBA for an opportunity to meet with her to discuss the proposed disqualification. (LaBrosse; Zane Wilson letter, March 31, 2021).          3) On April 20, 2021, the RBA met with attorney Wilson appearing on LaBrosse's behalf to discuss the proposed disqualification. (Record).          4) On April 27, 2021, LaBrosse requested immediate reinstatement to the rehabilitation specialist referral list. (Petition, April 27, 2021).          5) On April 30, 2021, the RBA issued and served the disqualification letter. (Niwa; record).          6) On May 5, 2021, LaBrosse requested Board review of the RBA's disqualification decision. (Written Request for Board Review, May 5, 2021).          7) On May 26, 2021, LaBrosse requested an order establishing that a rehabilitation specialist disqualification "requires fault based [on] proof that the alleged failure occurred due to actions or inactions of the specialist, not third parties." (Petition, May 26, 2021). ...

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