Under Colorado law, the Director may dismiss a claim when there has been no activity for at least six months. Further where there is no activity in furtherance of a prosecution, a party may request a claim to be closed. Upon the request, the Director may issue an order to show cause as to why the claim should not be closed. The Director’s authority in this regard is discretionary.
In Perez de Chavez, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) granted respondents’ motion to close. The last activity in the case was on March 8, 2018 when the Pre-hearing ALJ entered an Order compelling the claimant to respond to interrogatories, which she did on March 23, 2018. Respondents then filed a motion to close pursuant to W.C.R.P. 7-1(C) on September 24, 2018, after at least six months had gone by without anything further occurring in the case. The Director then issued an order to show cause on October 9, 2018. On November 8, 2018, claimant filed an application for hearing and responded to the order to show cause stating that claimant had applied for a hearing. The Director granted an order allowing claimant a 120 day extension of time to show cause until March 14, 2019. On March 21, 2019, the Director issued an order granting respondents’ motion to close as the claimant failed to comply with the time extension. Claimant appealed arguing the Director abused his discretion. The Director issued a supplemental order on June 25, 2019, affirming his initial order. Claimant appealed this order arguing it was unsupported by the facts and applicable law, the ALJ was biased, and the motion to close violated due process, equal protection and access to the courts.
the Industrial Claims Appeals Office (Panel) held that because the Director was allowed to dismiss a claim, they could not disturb the Director’s order absent a finding of an abuse of discretion. Abuse of discretion is shown where the decision is beyond the bounds of reason and unsupported by evidence or contrary to law.
On these facts, the Director did not abuse his discretion. There was no due process violation because claimant was given a notice and opportunity to be heard through setting an application for hearing or filing a time extension. There also was no evidence to support claimant’s contention that the Director was biased. Adverse rulings are not in and of themselves sufficient to show bias. Consequently, the Director’s June 25, 2019 order was affirmed and the motion to close was properly granted.
Martha Perez de Chavez v. GCA Services Group Inc. and Indemnity Insurance Company of North America, W.C. No. 5-050-003 (ICAO Oct. 21, 2019)
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