Michigan Board of Magistrates Dismisses Claim Based on Res Judicata

How many Applications can a claimant file in Michigan before he faces fines? In Michigan, an injured worker seeks benefits by filing an Application for Mediation or Hearing. This is known as Form WC-104A.

In Sheikh v. Pratt & Whitney AutoAir, Inc., the claimant filed his fifteenth application for mediation or hearing following a decision by the Workers’ Compensation Board of Magistrates that he had recovered from an injury he had sustained at work for the employer. The Commission affirmed the decision by the Board of Magistrates to dismiss the application because the claimant  described the same injury and claimed he had been looking for work. The claimant failed to allege that his condition had changed for the worse since the prior decision that he had recovered.

The claimant’s application that was dismissed included the same date of injury and nature of injury as provided in his previous applications. The claimant also claimed that he had been looking for but had not found a job.

The Board of Magistrates dismissed the case based on res judicata. Res judicata applies as this  matter had already been litigated.

The Commission agreed with the Board of Magistrates noting that the claimant had filed 16 applications in which he continued to allege the same date of injury and failed to allege any change of condition to the nature of the injury.  The Commission then cautioned the claimant he may be fined if he continues to file claims without pronouncing a change of condition to the nature of the injury or other relevant issue.

Thanks to I&F attorney Lauren Waninski for the summary of this interesting case.  Lauren handles cases in both Illinois and Michigan and practices out of the firm’s Chicago and Lansing offices.