Shelley R. Gimple, Appellee and Cross-appellant.
Student Transportation of America and National Interstate Ins. Co., Appellants and Cross-Appellees.
Workers' Compensation: Appeal and Error. Pursuant to Neb.
Rev. Stat. § 48-185 (Cum. Supp. 2016), an appellate
court may modify, reverse, or set aside a Workers'
Compensation Court decision only when (1) the compensation
court acted without or in excess of its powers; (2) the
judgment, order, or award was procured by fraud; (3) there is
not sufficient competent evidence in the record to warrant
the making of the order, judgment, or award; or (4) the
findings of fact by the compensation court do not support the
order or award.
__:__. Determinations by a trial judge of the Workers'
Compensation Court will not be disturbed on appeal unless
they are contrary to law or depend on findings of fact which
are clearly wrong in light of the evidence.
Workers' Compensation: Subrogation. Neb. Rev. Stat.
§ 48-118 (Reissue 2010) grants an employer who has paid
workers' compensation benefits to an employee injured as
a result of the actions of a third party a subrogation
interest against payments made by the third party.
Workers' Compensation: Statutes: Appeal and Error. In
workers' compensation cases, appellate courts give
statutory language its plain and ordinary meaning.
Words and Phrases. The plain and ordinary meaning of
"any" is "all" or "every."
Workers' Compensation: Appeal and Error. Findings of fact
made by the Workers' Compensation Court have the same
force and effect as a jury verdict and will not be set aside
unless clearly erroneous.
Workers' Compensation: Evidence: Appeal and Error. When
testing the sufficiency of the evidence to support findings
of fact made by the [300 Neb. 709] Workers' Compensation
Court trial judge, the evidence must be considered in the
light most favorable to the successful party and the
successful party will have the benefit of every inference
reasonably deducible from the evidence.
from the Workers' Compensation Court: Daniel R. Fridrich,
Judge. Affirmed in part, and in part reversed and remanded
Abigail A. Wenninghoff and Jocelyn J. Brasher, of Larson,
Kuper & Wenninghoff, PC, L.L.O., for appellants.
Caroline M. Westerhold and Zachary W. Anderson, of Baylor,
Evnen, Curtiss, Grimit & Witt, L.L.P., for appellee.
Heavican, C.J., Miller-Lerman, Cassel, Stacy, Funke, and
Papik, JJ., and Vaughan, District Judge.
vehicle driven by a drunk driver struck the school bus Shelly
R. Gimple was driving and injured her. For a time,
Gimple's employer, Student Transportation of America
(Student Transportation), paid workers' compensation
benefits to Gimple. When Gimple later asserted that she was
permanently disabled as a result of her injuries and Student
Transportation refused to pay benefits to which Gimple
claimed she was entitled, Gimple brought suit in the
Workers' Compensation Court. The compensation court found
that Gimple was entitled to additional benefits and that it
did not have jurisdiction to grant relief requested by
Student Transportation concerning a settlement Gimple entered
into with the driver who caused her injuries. The
compensation court denied Gimple's request that she be
awarded penalties, attorney fees, and interest because of
Student Transportation's failure to pay the benefits she
parties have now appealed and cross-appealed. We affirm the
compensation court's findings that Gimple was entitled to
benefits and that it did not have jurisdiction to resolve
[300 Neb. 710] issues regarding the third-party settlement,
but we reverse its determination that Gimple was not entitled
to penalties, attorney fees, and interest.
's Claim for Benefits.
April 22, 2014, a vehicle driven by a drunk driver struck the
school bus Gimple was driving for Student Transportation.
After being taken by ambulance to a hospital, doctors
diagnosed her with a left distal radius intra-articular
fracture dislocation. Gimple underwent multiple surgeries and
treatments over the next few years as a result of her injury.
Student Transportation initially paid some workers'
compensation benefits to Gimple as she incurred medical
costs, a dispute eventually arose between the parties as to
whether Gimple was entitled to additional benefits. Gimple
claimed that she was permanently disabled as a result of her
injuries and was entitled to permanent partial disability
benefits (PPD benefits). After Student Transportation refused
to pay such benefits, Gimple filed an action in the
compensation court against Student Transportation and its
workers' compensation insurer.
Transportation admitted that Gimple suffered an injury
arising out of and in the scope of her employment, but denied
the remainder of the allegations. Student Transportation also
alleged that Gimple had failed to comply with the Nebraska
Workers' Compensation Act by settling a claim against the
third party who injured her for $25, 000 without providing
notice or reimbursement to Student Transportation. Student
Transportation requested that the compensation court declare
either that the settlement was void or that Student