Judicial Review

By Ronald Hilley and Mia Frieder

Kool Smiles/NCDR, LLC v. Gonzalez, 2017 Ga. App. LEXIS 369 (2017)

Since the Superior Court of Gwinnett County did not enter its order reversing the Final Decision of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation within 20 days of the hearing on the appeal pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 34-9-105(b), the Superior Court’s order was a nullity, and award of the Board was affirmed by operation of law.

Employee sustained an on-the-job injury in 2005 which was deemed catastrophic, and he was awarded temporary total disability benefits. On October 18, 2015, pursuant to a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge denied employer’s Kool Smiles’s request for a change of physician, granted employee’s requests for additional treatments, and awarded attorney fees based on Kool Smiles’s unreasonable defense. Kool Smiles appealed the order to the Board, and on March 4, 2016, the Board upheld the ALJ’s award except as to the issue of attorneys’ fees. Employee filed a notice of appeal in Superior Court of Gwinnett County pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 34-9-105(b). On August 1, 2016, the Superior Court conducted a judicial review hearing but did not enter its order reversing the Final Decision until August 31, 2016, after the 20-day time limit set by O.C.G.A. § 34-9-105(b). The Court of Appeals held that the Superior Court lost jurisdiction of the case on August 20, 2016, and its subsequent order was a nullity.

About the Authors

Mia Frieder and Ron Hilley are the founders of Hilley & Frieder in Atlanta. Both
graduates of the Emory University School of Law, their practice specializes in personal injury, medical malpractice, workers’ compensation, and wrongful death. Ron and Mia are
active in numerous bar associations,
including GTLA where Mia serves on the Verdict Editorial Board.

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