Amazon.com, Inc. v. Cristi Cessna

Amazon.com, Inc. v. Cristi Cessna

AMAZON.COM; AND SEDGWICK CMS, Appellants,
v.
CRISTI CESSNA, Respondent.

No. 63675

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA

April 17, 2015

This is a workers’ compensation case between appellants Amazon.com and Sedgwick CMS v. respondent Cristi Cessna involving an appeal from a district court order which denied a petition for judicial review in a workers’ compensation matter.

Case Details

Cessna originally filed a claim against Amazon regarding workers’ compensation. Amazon responded by sending a notice of the closure to Cessna via mail. However, Cessna claims that she did not receive the notice in the mail because it was sent to the wrong address, therefore she did not file an appeal within the specified time frame.

Summary

The appeals officer concluded that Amazon.com failed to properly serve the respondent notice of their intent to close her workers’ compensation claim. This decision is supported by substantial evidence: Amazon.com admittedly sent the notice to Cessna’s home address, rather than to her separate mailing address, and the appeals officer found Cessna’s testimony credible that she did not in fact receive the notice.

Conclusion

The court determined that Cessna did not receive the notice regarding the closure of her workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, Cessna’s failure to appeal the closure was excused. Amazon appealed this decision, but the appeal was denied. Amazon’s failure to properly serve their notice of claim closure renders the closure ineffective. Accordingly, a merits determination with respect to that notice is not warranted, and the judgment of the district court was affirmed.


 

COURT OPINION

AMAZON.COM; AND SEDGWICK CMS, Appellants,
v.
CRISTI CESSNA, Respondent.

No. 63675

SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF NEVADA

April 17, 2015

An unpublished order shall not be regarded as precedent and shall not be cited as legal authority. SCR 123

ORDER OF AFFIRMANCE

This is an appeal from a district court order denying a petition for j­udicial review in a workers’ compensation matter. First Judicial District Court, Carson City; James Todd Russell, Judge.

The appeals officer’s decision concluding that appellants failed to properly serve respondent notice of their intent to close her workers’ compensation claim is supported by substantial evidence. NRS 233B.135(3); Nellis Motors v. State, Dep’t of Motor Vehicles, 124 Nev. 1263, 1269-70, 197 P.3d 1061, 1066 (2008) (explaining that this court reviews an agency’s decision for substantial evidence and will not reweigh the evidence, reassess witness credibility, or substitute our judgment for that of the appeals officer on questions of fact). Appellants admittedly sent the notice to respondent’s home address, rather than to her separate mailing address, and the appeals officer found credible respondent’s testimony that she did not receive the notice. Consequently, the notice of claim closure was ineffective, respondent’s failure to timely challenge that decision was properly excused, and as no ruling has been rendered closing the claim, the claim remains open. Holiday Inn Downtown v. Barnett, 103 Nev. 60, 64, 732 P.2d 1376, 1379 (1987); see also NRS 616C.315(5) (excusing a claimant’s failure to timely request a hearing when a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that the claimant did not receive the insurer’s determination); NRS 616C.235(l)(a) (“The closure of a claim pursuant to this subsection is not effective unless notice is given as required by this subsection.”); NRS 616C.235(l)(b) (providing that the insurer may close a claim only if the claimant does not timely contest the closure). Further, as the claim remains open, the appeals officer properly reversed the hearing officer’s decisions in the concurrent administrative appeals denying transfer of care and medical expense reimbursement, and the appeals officer properly concluded that the reopening issue was moot.

Because the hearing officer improperly dismissed the administrative appeal as untimely and the appeals officer reversed without determining whether closure was warranted, the merits were not heard. In their reply brief, appellants ask that this court remand for a merits determination. Under NRS 616C.235(l)(a), however, appellants’ failure to properly serve their notice of claim closure renders the closure ineffective. Accordingly, a merits determination with respect to that notice is not warranted, and we

ORDER the judgment of the district court AFFIRMED.

/s/_________, J.
Saitta

/s/_________, J.
Gibbons

/s/_________, J.
Pickering

cc: Hon. James Todd Russell, District Judge
James Georgeson, Settlement Judge
Guinasso Law, Ltd.
Kinney & Levinson
Carson City Clerk

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