Oral Argument, November 18, 2014
Appeal from King County Superior Court. Docket No: 13-2-17568-1. Judge signing: Honorable Andrea a Darvas. Judgment or order under review. Date filed: 11/25/2013.
Ann Silvernale (of Holmes Weddle & Barcott ), for appellant.
Robert W. Ferguson, Attorney General, and Steve Vinyard, Assistant, for respondent.
Authored by J. Robert Leach. Concurring: Stephen J. Dwyer, Mary Kay Becker.
J. Robert Leach,
[185 Wn.App. 645] [¶1] Cascadian Building Maintenance Ltd. appeals a trial court decision denying Cascadian stay-at-work wage reimbursement for the first 3 of the 6 days its employee worked light duty following her industrial injury. Because RCW 51.32.090(4) incentivizes employers to allow workers to " remain at work following their injury," we reject the trial court's conclusion that RCW 51.32.090(7)'s 3-day waiting period for time loss payments to workers for temporary disabilities lasting 14 days or less applies to wage subsidy payments made to an employer under RCW 51.32.090(4). Because RCW 51.52.130 only authorizes attorney fee awards to injured workers and their beneficiaries, we deny Cascadian's request for attorney fees, reverse, and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
[¶2] On January 9, 2012, Norma Tellez suffered an injury in the course of her employment with Cascadian. Tellez's attending physician found her temporarily totally disabled [185 Wn.App. 646] from her job of injury and restricted her activities. On January 10, Cascadian offered her a light duty work position conforming to her physician's restrictions, which Tellez accepted. She performed the light duty work on January 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, and 17, 2012. Her schedule remained the same: she worked Sunday through Thursday in the evenings. On January 22, Tellez resumed her usual duties with her attending physician's approval.
[¶3] Cascadian requested wage subsidies from the Department of Labor and Industries (Department) under RCW 51.32.090(4), a stay-at-work program adopted in 2011. The Department reimbursed Cascadian for 50 percent of the wages it paid Tellez for her light duty work on January 15, 16, and 17--$168.12. But it denied Cascadian's claim for wage subsidies for January 10, 11, and 12. Citing RCW 51.32.090(7), the Department asserted " the first three days after the date of injury are not reimbursable because the worker did not remain restricted from full duties by the 14th day after the date of injury."
[¶4] Cascadian appealed to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals (Board). The Board reversed the Department's order. The Department appealed to King County
Superior Court. The trial court reversed the Board's order, reinstated the Department decision, and awarded the Department ...