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Williams v. Zone

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

December 16, 2013

ALAN J. WILLIAMS, Claimant-Appellant,
v.
AUTO ZONE, Employer-Appellee.

Submitted: October 28, 2013

Alan J. Williams, pro se.

Nathan V. Gin, Esquire, Elzufon Austin Tarlov & Mondell, P.A., Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Employer-Appellee Auto Zone.

OPINION AND ORDER

WALLACE, J.

I. INTRODUCTION

Alan J. Williams[1] has appealed the March 27, 2013 decision of the Industrial Accident Board (the "Board").[2] The Board denied Mr. Williams' Petition to Determine Compensation Due (the "Petition") through which he sought compensation for a knee injury that he allegedly sustained in February 2012 during the course and in the scope of his employment with Auto Zone. The Board found that Mr. Williams had failed to meet his burden of proving that he sustained a work injury in February 2012.[3]Williams contends that the Board's decision was not supported by substantial evidence.

Because the Board relied on adequate evidence, committed no legal error, and did not abuse its discretion, its decision to deny Mr. Williams' petition for compensation is hereby AFFIRMED.

II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A. Mr. Williams' Auto Zone Employment

Mr. Williams began his employment with Auto Zone[4] in April 2009. For the next three years, he held several positions in several different Auto Zone stores: part-time sales manager, parts sales manager and store manager. Mr. Williams was store manager of the Market Street-Wilmington Auto Zone when he allegedly injured his knee in February 2012.

Mr. Williams never reported the claimed injury to any Auto Zone representative until the day he was fired. That was April 20, 2012 when, after a months-long, loss-prevention investigation, [5] Mr. Williams was terminated with an immediate effective date. Auto Zone District Manager Wayne Epps met with Mr. Williams that day, notified Mr. Williams that he was terminated, and was then told by Mr. Williams that he had injured his left knee at work. Mr. Epps referred Mr. Williams to the company's Human Resources Department regarding his termination and took no action regarding Mr. Williams' newly reported work accident claim.

B. Mr. Williams' Post-termination Accident Claim

Mr. Williams testified that he spoke to an Auto Zone Human Resources representative three days after his termination. That Auto Zone representative filed a claim with the company's workers' compensation carrier in June 2012.[6] Mr. Williams filed his initial Petition to Determine Compensation Due with the Board on August 15, 2012. He sought compensation for a left knee injury that he said he sustained in February 2012 while working at the Market Street-Wilmington Auto Zone store. Through the Petition and subsequent filings, Mr. Williams sought ...


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