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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Workers' Compensation Procedural Reminders

PROGRAM STATEMENT

First established in 1987 by Act 103 of the Public Acts of 1985, the Workers' Disability Compensation Appeals Commission (Commission) serves Michigan's employees and employers by addressing and resolving their workers' compensation appeals expeditiously, impartially, and judiciously. Three governor appointees serve as commissioners with one commissioner designated as the chairperson.

THESE GUIDELINES ARE SUBMITTED FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE.  YOU SHOULD NOT RELY EXCLUSIVELY ON THESE GUIDELINES, BUT SHOULD CONSULT ALL APPLICABLE STATUTES AND RULES.

A decision/order issued by the Board of Magistrates may be appealed to the Commission up to 30 days from the mailing date of the order of the magistrate.  A decision/order issued by the Director of the Workers' Disability Compensation Agency may be appealed to the Commission up to15 days from the mailing date of the order of the Director. An appeal is considered "perfected" when all required filings on appeal have been received by the Commission. Perfected appeals are then reviewed by the Commission focusing only on those issues raised by the appealing party or parties. Opinions/orders provide an analysis of the evidence presented to support the magistrate's findings of fact and/or whether the conclusions of law need to be corrected or clarified.

A claim for review and subsequent documents must be filed directly with the Commission, P.O. Box 30468, Lansing, Michigan 48909. The physical location of the Commission is 525 West Allegan Street, Atrium Level, North Tower, Lansing, Michigan 48909. The telephone number is 517-284-9312 and the facsimile number is 517-284-5391. R 792.11315, Rule 1315(1) provides that "[a]ll pleadings, transcripts, briefs, and other documents necessary for an appeal shall be filed with the commission."

All filings by US postal service, delivery service, or hand delivery must be received by the Commission between normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to be considered received on the date of receipt. A filing by facsimile will be accepted as filed on the date it is received up until midnight, and the original document should thereafter be filed with the Commission. All documents received outside of these guidelines will be considered received the next business day.

TRANSCRIPTS 

The appellant is responsible for filing the complete hearing transcript with the Commission not later than 60 days after filing the claim for review. Copies of the transcript must be served on all opposing parties.  Section 861a(5). The court reporting service will not file transcripts directly with the Commission. Please refer to the Workers' Disability Compensation Agency's website for information on obtaining transcripts.

EXTENSION OF TIME FOR FILING TRANSCRIPTS 

The Commission will consider extending the time for filing the transcript when a motion is filed in compliance with R 792.11320, Rule 1320 and R 792.11321, Rule 1321. If a motion for extension of time is not filed or sufficient cause is not shown, the claim for review may be dismissed.

BRIEFS 

The appellant's brief is due not later than 30 days after the complete transcript is filed. R 792.11319, Rule 1319(2). If the hearing was not recorded, the brief is due within 30 days after the claim for review is filed. Section 861a(5); R 792.11318, Rule 1318.

RESPONSIVE BRIEFS 

Any responsive brief (optional) is due not later than 30 days after receipt of the appellant's brief. Section 861a(6); R 792.11319, Rule 1319(4).

CROSS APPEALS 

Parties may file a cross appeal no later than 30 days after the appellant's brief is received. R 792.11317, Rule 1317(1). The cross appeal must be filed on the claim for review form (WC-262), specifically identifying it as a cross appeal. R 792.11317(5), Rule 1317(5).  The cross-appellant's brief is also due 30 days after the appellant's brief is received. Any response to the cross appeal (optional) is due 30 days after the cross-appellant's brief is filed. Section 861a(6) and (7); R 792.11319, Rule 1319(4). Cross appeals are derivative; if the appeal is withdrawn or dismissed, the cross appeal is extinguished.  R 792.11317, Rule 1317(4).

Delayed cross appeals will not be accepted. An extension of time in which to file a reply brief does not extend the time in which to file a cross appeal or brief in support of cross appeal. R 792.11317, Rule 1317(3).

SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEFS 

A party may submit a supplemental brief, directing the Commission to current developments in the law, at any time after the initial pleadings are filed.  A supplemental brief may not raise new issues.

EXTENSION OF TIME FOR FILING BRIEFS 

Extensions of time will be considered if requested by motion for sufficient cause shown. R 792.11320 and R 792.11321. Demonstrating sufficient cause requires a detailed explanation that the brief cannot be filed on a timely basis. If appellant fails to timely file its brief or an extension request, the appeal shall be dismissed. If appellee fails to timely file its brief or an extension request, the brief will not be considered.

MOTIONS 

All motions shall be in writing. A party opposing a motion shall have 14 days from the filing of the motion in which to respond. R 792.11320, Rule 1320.

PROOF OF SERVICE 

All pleadings and papers filed with the Commission must be served upon all other parties to the action. Proof of service may be by written acknowledgment of service, affidavit of the person making the service, a statement regarding the service verified by oath or affirmation of the party or of someone having knowledge of the service or including the following signed and dated declaration: "I declare that the statements above are true to the best of my information, knowledge and belief." The Michigan Rules of Court, particularly MCR 2.107(d) and 2.114(a), may be consulted for guidance.

PENDING APPEALS AND REDEMPTIONS 

The Commission urges parties on appeal not to request return of a file to the Agency for a redemption hearing while settlement negotiations are still ongoing or tentative. Such requests serve only to delay resolution of the appeal. It is equally important, however, for the Commission to be promptly informed of actual settlement agreements. When a settlement agreement has been reached, all parties to the appeal should send a stipulation or joint letter (or each party should send its own letter) indicating that the settlement has been reached. Once this information is provided to the Commission, the file will be returned to the Agency immediately for the redemption hearing.

FURTHER APPEAL

Any party in disagreement with the Commission's findings has 30 days from the mailing date, stamped on the opinion/order, to file an application for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeals and request that the record be certified to the Court. Section 861a(14); MCR 7.205.  The request must be made in writing and submitted to the Commission along with the $50.00 filing fee, payable to the State of Michigan. Upon expiration of the 30-day appellate window, the Commission's opinion/order is final and binding on all parties.

LEGAL BASIS

The primary legal basis for the Commission is found in Act No. 317 of the Public Acts of 1969, as amended, also known as the Worker's Disability Compensation Act of 1969 (MCL 418.101 et seq.; specifically Sections 274, 859a and 861a). The Act provides general policies for administration, gives the chairperson appointing and work assignment authority, grants rule-making authority to the Commission as a body, sets out the scope of review, and provides procedures for employers, insurance carriers, attorneys and employees seeking review.