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Burton v. Construction

Superior Court of Delaware, New Castle

July 6, 2015

Steven L. Burton
v.
PLS Construction

Submitted: April 28, 2015

On Appeal from a Decision of the Industrial Accident Board.

Gary S. Nitsche, Esquire Samuel D. Pratcher, III, Esquire Weik, Nitsche, Dougherty & Galbraith Attorney for Appellant Steven L. Burton

Nathan V. Gin, Esquire Elzufon Austin Tarlov & Mondell, P.A.Attorney for Appellee PLS Construction

Dear Counsel:

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is an appeal by Appellant Steven L. Burton from a decision of the Industrial Accident Board dated September 11, 2014. The Board's decision denied Appellant's Petition to Determine Compensation Due for lack of jurisdiction.[1]

On appeal, Appellant seeks to have the Board's decision reversed, arguing that the Board committed an error of law when it found that a contract of hire was not made in Delaware and that it followed that the Board did not have jurisdiction to hear Appellant's petition. The Court finds that the Board committed no error of law. Accordingly, the decision of the Board is hereby AFFIRMED.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Appellant Steven L. Burton was allegedly injured in an occupational accident on November 6, 2013 while employed by Appellee, PLS Construction. Appellant allegedly injured his spine and shoulder while attempting to pull heavy grates from a trench.[2] On April 14, 2014, Appellant filed a Petition to Determine Compensation Due seeking medical expenses and total disability benefits. The parties agreed below that Apellant's medical treatment was reasonable and necessary, but disagreed regarding whether Appellant's cervical spine injury was causally related to the accident. The parties' dispute below centered on whether the Industrial Accident Board had jurisdiction over Appellant's case. The Board conducted a hearing on August 28, 2014 and issued a decision on September 11, 2014.[3]

The Board found that Appellant did not meet the burden of proof to establish jurisdiction pursuant to 19 Del. C. § 2303(a).[4] Section 2303(a) states in pertinent part:

(a) If an employee, while working outside the territorial limits of this State, suffers an injury on account of which the employee . . . would have been entitlted to the benefits provided by this chapter had such injury occurred within this State, such employee . . . shall be entitled to the benefits provided by this chapter, provided that at the time of such injury:
(1) The employee's employment is principally localized in this State; or
(2) The employee is working under a contract of hire made in this State in employment not principally ...

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