In this Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission decision I recently secured, the Commission significantly addresses a Plaintiff’s burden of proof under step four of Stokes v. Chrysler Corp, LLC.
According to the Commission, first, the vocational experts are now going to have to provide a more complete list of jobs an individual has the transferable skills to perform within certain sets of restrictions. The “universe of jobs” “list” referred to according to this opinion “will never change, and as such, serves as a foundation for future disagreements about disability and wage loss.”
Secondly, the Commission concludes a claimant’s ability to work fluctuates with a person’s physical condition.
In the third paragraph, “the next step further concentrate the job list to those jobs that are: 1) suitable to the plaintiffs qualifications and training; 2) within plaintiffs work related restrictions; and additionally 3) available to plaintiff. This step routinely involves vocational surveys and plaintiff directed job searches. This step is glaringly missing from the analyses. To adequately address this step the magistrate must consider fluctuations in the evidence for the entire time of the claimed disability. For example, a vocational expert may perform a job market survey that only examines the job market during a specific week. Or, as in this case, plaintiff may exhibit varying degrees of tenacity when looking for work. Again those fluctuations alter the list of jobs that are available. Only once plaintiff proves that no suitable restriction-compliant jobs are available in the magistrate order full benefit.
Under this analysis, it is unlikely that an individual will be receiving full benefits if they can work. It also requires more of vocational experts from both sides.
Here is the opinion: 2013 ACO # 1