An applicant’s repeated failure to comply with discovery can result in claim dismissal.

In Farlough, the applicant allegedly sustained a work-related injury to his right knee. The applicant filed a claim for compensation in December 2018. The claim was denied in January 2019 but remained under investigation. The applicant objected and requested a hearing. Following the request for hearing, Respondents requested medical release forms and served interrogatories. The applicant returned completed but unsigned medical release forms and objected to the interrogatories. In March 2019, the ALJ directed the applicant to sign the medical releases, produce copies of medical records, and answer all interrogatories. The applicant did not comply. The applicant also refused to do a deposition and failed to attend an IME. In April 2019, the ALJ ordered the applicant again to provide the signed medical releases, produce medical records, and answer interrogatories. In May 2019, the applicant attended the rescheduled IME but was unwilling to answer questions about his medical history. Respondents then filed a motion requesting the hearing be dismissed based on the applicant’s failure to comply with investigation. The motion was granted as a sanction for the applicant’s failure to comply with orders and a finding he abandoned his claim. The applicant then filed an objection and the ALJ treated it as a request for review. The ALJ then issued a decision affirming the dismissal order. The applicant appealed and the Arizona Court of Appeals (the Court) affirmed the ALJ’s dismissal.

On appeal, the applicant argued that he did provide medical reports and was subjected to unfair claim processing or bad faith. The applicant also alleged there was an abuse of power to violate constitutionally protected rights. The Court found that the applicant had failed to comply with the rules of appellate procedure to such an extent that the Court could not discern his claim and his claims were also waived. The applicant’s opening brief lacked a lucid statement of the case, facts, and issues. The applicant’s opening brief also did not contain an adequately developed argument, appropriate references to the record, or articulate the applicable standard of review. The applicant, even though not represented, is held to the same procedures and rules as an attorney. The Court concluded that the ALJ was well within jurisdiction to order dismissal of the claim and request for hearing due to the applicant’s repeated obstruction and noncompliance with orders.  The Court affirmed the ALJ’s dismissal order.

Farlough v. Indus. Comm’n of Ariz., 2020 WL 1488757 (Mar. 26, 2020)

Would you like to know more?  Contact Ilene H. Feldmeier at ifeldmeier@pollartmiller.com or 877-259-5693.

From the April 2020 Newsletter

2020-04-28T14:00:01+00:00