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01/27/76 HAWLEY v. GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION

January 27, 1976

HAWLEY
v.
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, TERNSTEDT DIVISION



Appeal from the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board.

Leave to appeal denied, 397 Mich .

Danhof, P. J., and McGregor and N. J. Kaufman, JJ.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Workmen's Compensation -- Appeal Board Decisions -- Review -- Errors of Law -- Findings of Fact -- Fraud -- Conclusiveness.

Appellate review of Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board decisions is limited to determining whether errors of law have been committed; in the absence of fraud the board's findings of fact are conclusive.

2. Workmen's Compensation -- Appeal Board -- Evidence -- Standards of Admission -- Hearsay -- Preserving Question.

The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board may consider any competent evidence relevant and material to matters in issue and is not subject to the same standards applicable in trial courts; hearsay evidence is usually inadmissible in compensation proceedings but the use of such evidence will generally not require reversal on appeal, especially where no objection is raised to its admission at the hearing where the matter could have been easily adjudicated by the board.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Per Curiam

Petition by General Motors Corporation for cessation of workmen's compensation benefits to Josephine E. Hawley because of refusal to engage in favored work. Cessation of benefits granted. Josephine Hawley appeals by leave granted.

Plaintiff appeals, by leave granted December 19, 1974, from a Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB) decision which, in affirming a referee's decision, ordered the cessation of compensation to plaintiff.

Plaintiff had been receiving compensation for a work-related back injury pursuant to a June 29, 1970, award. On March 5, 1973, defendant filed a petition to stop compensation in which it alleged that plaintiff had been given "favored work" but, after two days on the job, had refused to return to work.

The favored work which defendant had assigned to plaintiff was that of a light machine operator. At the hearing before the referee, plaintiff claimed that her injury prevented her from performing this job. She stated that having to sit all day caused pressure on her hips which, in turn, resulted in leg spasms.

At the hearing, the referee viewed a demonstration film showing how a light machine operator's job was performed. *fn1 Plaintiff agreed that the film showed the way that the job was done, but she did not agree that it fully showed the difficulties entailed in the job. For example, plaintiff maintained that bending and reaching were definitely involved, but the film did not accurately depict these activities. This testimony was corroborated by the testimony of a Mr. Labadie who is plant chairman and union representative. Plaintiff asserted that she could not, without pain, do the bending required by the job. She further testified that after working for two days, she got spasms in her legs and that she now takes muscle relaxer medication. While at work during the two days she had to lie down because of the pain. Plaintiff also indicated that, because she could not park closer to the plant, she was forced to walk a mile over rough terrain each morning. This walk aggravated her condition.

In a deposition, Dr. Porretta, a physician who had treated plaintiff for a number of years, testified that it was his opinion that plaintiff "could do light work which did not require excessive reaching or bending or lifting". Further, after viewing the demonstration film he opined that the plaintiff should have been able to do the work. Dr. Porretta also testified that the work involved movements which were identical to the therapeutic exercise he had prescribed ...


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