Distinct questions: Permanent total disability benefits under Missouri’s Workers’ Compensation and Second Injury Fund Statute
Vol. 78, No. 5 / September - October 2022
Aaron Hadlow is an associate at the Pettit Law Office located in Aurora.
Missouri’s workers’ compensation law is an exclusive remedy for employees who are injured in the course and scope of their employment.2 Depending on the severity of the injury, employees may pursue permanent total disability (PTD) benefits.3
PTD benefits are paid weekly to the employee for the remainder of his or her life, as calculated by the employee’s “average weekly earnings.”4 PTD benefits are intended to shift the burden of a work injury from society to the employer.5 While employers may sometimes be liable for these benefits, an employee may also pursue PTD benefits from Missouri’s Second Injury Fund – as provided under § 287.220.3, RSMo (2016) – thereby relieving the employer and its insurer of the full extent of liability for PTD benefits.6
The Second Injury Fund was created as a safety net for injured workers who faced difficulty re-entering the workforce after a significant injury.7 The public policy was intended to blunt the impact of discrimination of employees with disabilities.8 In theory, an employer would be more willing to hire a worker with a preexisting disability when the employer knew that its permanent total disability liability under the workers’ compensation law could be limited.9 The advancement of this public policy has been long acknowledged.10 However, in 2013, the state legislature limited eligibility for PTD benefits from the fund to account for the fund’s insolvency.11 After all, what good is a legal entitlement to PTD benefits if the fund does not have money to pay the benefits?
Enactment of the 2013 amendments to the Second Injury Fund now balances the initial policy of encouraging re-employment of workers with disabilities against the solvency of the fund.12 Since the 2013 amendments, employees and overseers of the fund have sought clarification on the application of the amendment. Recently, in Treasurer of State v. Parker13 and Klecka v. Treasurer of Missouri,14 the Supreme Court of Missouri has offered clarification regarding the eligibility requirements for PTD benefits under § 287.220.3.
2013 amendments to § 287.220
Section 287.220 governs the Second Injury Fund liability. While several substantive changes to § 287.220 were implemented through the 2013 amendment, the most relevant for this article occurred with the provision inserted under § 287.220.3. Section 287.220.3 narrowed the eligibility requirements of permanent total disability claims against the fund. Since its enactment nearly a decade ago, § 287.220.3 has become notorious not only for its structure – which seems to be the legislative drafting equivalent of Russian nesting doll sets – but also for its unwieldiness.
In addition to abolishing permanent partial disability claims against the fund for injuries occurring after Jan. 1, 2014, § 287.220.3(2) provided that “claims for permanent total disability under § 287.200” were compensable only when the conditions under § 287.220.3(2)(a)a and § 287.220.3(2)(a)b were satisfied.
Section 287.22.3(2)(a)a and “qualifying” disabilities
Section 287.220.3(2)(a)a has been construed as setting the criteria for establishing a “qualifying” disability.15 In terms of the public policy guiding the creation of the Second Injury Fund, a qualifying disability is a disability, absent the fund, an employer would be deterred by in its hiring practices. To be deemed a sufficient qualifying injury, the disability must be “a medically documented preexisting disability equaling a minimum of 50 weeks of permanent partial disability compensation.”16 Additionally, the disability must arise from one of four circumstances:
i) A direct result of active military duty in any branch of the United States Armed Forces; or
(ii) A direct result of a compensable injury as defined in § 287.020; or
(iii) Not a compensable injury, but such preexisting disability directly and significantly aggravates or accelerates the subsequent work-related injury and shall not include unrelated preexisting injuries or conditions that do not aggravate or accelerate the subsequent work-related injury; or
(iv) A preexisting permanent partial disability of an extremity, loss of eyesight in one eye, or loss of hearing in one ear, when there is a subsequent compensable work-related injury as set forth in subparagraph b of the opposite extremity, loss of eyesight in the other eye, or loss of hearing in the other ear[.]17
Thus, a qualifying disability is one that is medically documented to equal at least 50 weeks of permanent partial disability compensation and arises from one of the four circumstances described in § 287.220.3(2)(a)a(i)-(iv).
Section 287.220.3(2)(a)b and “primary” injuries
Section 287.220.3(2)(a)b has been construed as establishing the criteria for what has been deemed a “primary” injury.18 In terms of the policy guiding the creation of the Second Injury Fund, a primary injury may be understood as the “second” or “last” injury resulting in permanent total disability. A primary injury is simply “a subsequent compensable work-related injury.”19 A primary injury need not be a minimum number of weeks; however, it must “combine” with the qualifying disabilities to “result in a permanent total disability as defined under [Chapter 287].”20
While questions remain regarding § 287.220.3, the Supreme Court of Missouri has resolutely decided in Parker and Klecka that a primary injury must combine with only qualifying disabilities to result in a permanent total disability to make a claimant eligible for PTD benefits under the fund.
Treasurer of State v. Parker
Parker came before the Court on appeal brought by the State Treasurer, custodian of the Second Injury Fund.21 The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission awarded the claimant PTD benefits as permitted under § 2126.96.36.199 On appeal, the parties agreed the commission had erred in applying § 287.220.2 – which only applies to injuries occurring prior to Jan. 1, 2014 – when the claimant’s primary injury occurred after Jan. 1, 2014.23 The Court vacated the commission’s award and remanded to the commission with directions to consider the claimant’s entitlement to benefits under § 2188.8.131.52 The Court proceeded to address the construction and application of § 287.220.3 because the issues were “certain to arise before the Commission” and the Court found addressing the issues “in the interest of avoiding unnecessary litigation and delay.”25
A narrow reading of the Court’s opinion in Parker might conclude that the remaining discussion regarding the construction of § 287.220.3 is dicta because the substantive disposition of the case turned only on the commission’s application of § 287.220.2 when § 287.220.3 should have been applied.
However, a broader – and perhaps more tenable – reading finds the Court providing crucial insight on the issues that later come to bear in Klecka. Under a broad reading of Parker, the Court held that a claimant must have “at least one qualifying preexisting disability” that is medically documented, equal to at least 50 weeks of permanent partial disability, and falls under one of the criteria in § 287.220.3(2)(a)a(i)-(iv).26 The Court expressly rejected a Second Injury Fund argument that “only one preexisting disability can combine with the primary injury to result in PTD.”27 Instead, the Court held Missouri law28 instructs that singular forms of words in statutes should be construed to include plural forms, thus § 287.220.3(2)(a)b “should be read to include ‘when combined with the preexisting disabilities.’”29
The Court also rejected an argument from the fund that a claimant must have a determination of “maximum medical improvement” before a “primary” injury, under § 287.220.3(2)(a)b, occurs.30 Instead, the Court held a claimant “who suffers a preexisting disability before his primary injury can meet the first condition regardless of whether he knew (or it had been determined) before suffering his primary injury that his preexisting disability equaled 50 weeks [permanent partial disability].”31
Lastly,32 and most applicable to the issues presented in Klecka, the Court rejected the claimant’s argument that the fund liability for PTD benefits permits consideration of all of the claimant’s preexisting disabilities “regardless of whether those disabilities meet the first condition” under § 287.220.3(2)(a)a.33 Instead, the Court held “[s]ection 287.220.3(2)(b) specifies that the subsequent work-related injury must combine ‘with the preexisting disability, as set forth in items (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of subparagraph a. of this paragraph.’”34 The Court reasoned “an employee satisfies the second condition by showing the primary injury results in PTD when combined with all preexisting disabilities that qualify under one of the four eligibility criteria listed in the first condition.”35
The Court then offered:
The existence of non-qualifying disabilities does not count against (or for) the claimant in evaluating whether [the claimant] meets the second threshold condition [under § 287.220.3(2)(a)b]. In other words, two claimants with identical qualifying preexisting disabilities and primary injuries should be evaluated the same way when determining if they meet the second condition regardless of whether one has additional non-qualifying disabilities.36
Under a broad reading of Parker, the question of how qualifying disabilities combine with a primary injury to render an employee eligible for PTD benefits under the fund appeared settled. However, the Court’s language directing that nonqualifying disabilities were to be evaluated in a way that did “not count against (or for) the claimant” when assessing PTD benefits prompted questions about how this analysis fit in the well-established permanent total disability analysis. This permanent total disability analysis has long been a holistic approach evaluating a claimant’s “ability to compete in the open labor market.”37
As a result, curious readers of Parker asked whether the analysis of permanent total disability required a consideration of other factors that might include or be affected by preexisting disabilities that did not meet the threshold conditions under § 287.220.3(2)(a)a (i.e., medically documented 50-week disabilities that fall within one of the four criteria set forth in § 287.220.3(2)(a)a(i)-(iv)). After all, an employee’s ability to compete on the open labor market includes whether all his or her physician-imposed limitations and restrictions may be reasonably accommodated in the workplace, not just the limitations and restrictions that exist associated to qualifying disabilities and primary injuries. Proponents argued these preexisting nonqualifying disabilities may yet be considered under the analysis for permanent total disability for fund PTD benefits because § 287.220.3 twice refers to “permanent total disability” “under 287.200,” and “as defined under [Chapter 287],” rather than simply permanent total disability under § 287.220.38 The question arose whether the legislature intended for the same permanent total disability analysis under § 287.200 that applies against an employer was intended to apply in the context of fund liability for PTD benefits under § 287.220.
The Court answered that question in Klecka.
Klecka v. Treasurer of Missouri
Klecka involved a claimant whose primary injuries included a right shoulder injury and the psychiatric injury of depression.39 The claimant asserted the primary injuries combined with five preexisting disabilities to make him eligible for PTD benefits under the fund.40 After reviewing the evidence submitted by claimant, the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission found only one of the preexisting disabilities was a “qualifying” disability for purposes of § 287.220.3(2)(a)a, in that it was a medically documented preexisting condition equaling at least 50 weeks of disability and arose from one of the four criteria under § 287.220.3(2)(a)a(i)-(iv).41 However, the claimant’s expert evidence considered all of the nonqualifying injuries in addition to the qualifying disability when rendering opinions that the claimant had a permanent total disability.42 As a result, the commission found the claimant failed to meet the evidentiary burden of showing the primary injuries “combined” with the qualifying injury to result in permanent total disability.43
The Missouri Court of Appeals-Eastern District reversed the commission’s award denying PTD benefits.44 The court’s opinion focused on how the legislature included references to permanent total disability under § 287.200 and Chapter 287.45
The Supreme Court of Missouri took the case on the fund’s application for transfer.46 In doing so, the Court addressed two points.
First, the Court reviewed the evidence submitted by the claimant and found, consistent with the commission, that the expert evidence included consideration of nonqualifying injuries.47 Under this evidence, the Court reasoned, the claimant could not establish that his primary injuries “combined” with only the qualifying injury to result in a permanent total disability.48
The Court held there are two “distinct” standards for analyzing permanent total disability, one for PTD against the employer and one for PTD against the Second Injury Fund.49
The Court upheld the test for permanent total disability “is the worker’s ability to compete in the open labor market[,]” which turns on “whether, in the ordinary course of business, any employer would be reasonably expected to hire the individual given [their] present physical condition.”50 In applying the test for permanent total disability as described in § 287.220.3(2)(a)b, the Court elaborated that even if a claimant shows they are “permanently and totally disabled” under the traditional test for PTD benefits against an employer, the claimant is “entitled to Fund benefits only if [they] show[ their] PTD is the result of [their] primary injury combined with any qualifying preexisting disability.”51
Second, the Court held it was proper to consider “life factors,” including but not limited to “age, education, transferable skills, and physical appearance,” under the PTD analysis in § 2184.108.40.206
The Court affirmed the commission’s award denying PTD benefits from the fund.53
Parker and Klecka establish two distinct permanent total disability analyses – one for Second Injury Fund claims and another for PTD benefits sought from the employer. For employees, PTD claims against the fund will now prove a much more difficult avenue for relief. For employers, the specter of Federal Mut. Ins. Co. v. Carpenter54 indicates the path of least resistance may yield greater employer liability (and expense) in litigating permanent total disability claims.
Parker and Klecka also offer crucial practical guidance on the evidence employees must put forward in demonstrating a fund claim. If a party’s expert opinion considers any injuries other than those that plainly “qualify” under § 287.220.3(2)(a)a, then the evidentiary waters are muddied for purposes of analyzing PTD benefits under § 287.220.3. Employees may be well served in obtaining multiple (or supplemental) expert opinions addressing the distinct PTD analyses. But, of course, there is also the risk that if a party relies on an expert report or supplement that opines inconsistently, credibility issues will ensue.
While Klecka answers many questions, it also raises questions about the extent the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission may consider “life factors” in considering PTD benefits against the fund. Observers may wonder about transferable skills that are impaired by nonqualifying injuries. Is the Court signaling the commission could consider the impact of nonqualifying disability’s impairment, including restrictions and limitations, on the transferrable skills (or any other “life factor”) of the claimant? This will likely be an area explored by claimants pursuing PTD benefits against the fund.
Perhaps the most salient outcome of the 2013 amendment applied in Parker and Klecka is that the amendment’s intended policy to curb the effects of the Second Injury Fund’s insolvency is working. Section 287.220.3 has proven an effective shield of liability for the fund. Since Parker,55 a review of commission awards of permanent total disability reveals only a rare finding of fund liability. Of the 2556 commission awards involving post-2014 injuries where the fund was a party, 1957 of those awards denied PTD benefits against the fund.58 Of the remaining six awards allowing PTD benefits against the fund, two were awards allowing PTD benefits against the fund only entered after remand from a reviewing court.
Similarly, since Parker, reviewing courts have affirmed 1159 commission awards denying PTD against the fund, while at the same time reversing seven60 commission awards denying benefits against the fund.61 On first glance, the number of affirmed and reversed awards denying benefits suggests some statistical parity. But that statistical parity erodes when one considers that three of the seven reversed awards denying benefits have been transferred to the Supreme Court of Missouri, and thus substantively no longer exist.62 This suggests that perhaps once the dust settles, the number of affirmed commission awards denying PTD benefits may ultimately be closer to 13 or 14 of the 18 post-Parker decisions.63 The general outcomes regarding these reviewing court decisions also suggest that some districts of the Court of Appeals are more favorable venues for claimants and the fund, respectively. Of the seven post-Parker reversals of commission awards denying PTD benefits, four64 were issued by the Eastern District and three65 issued by the Western District. The Southern District has not reversed a commission award denying PTD benefits and instead has issued five66 decisions affirming each of the commission awards denying benefits arising before it.67
The advancement of the policy of saving the Second Injury Fund from insolvency is not without cost to other involved parties, including workers’ compensation tribunals.
The Parker/Klecka PTD standard will likely increase litigation costs for employees and employers alike. Employees may now need to produce twice the number of expert opinions – one addressing the traditional analysis for PTD benefits from the employer, if the case merits, and perhaps one considering the Parker/Klecka standard for PTD benefits from the fund. Employers will face increased litigation costs as the path to PTD benefits from the employer is now the path of least resistance to obtain PTD benefits. As a result, settlement negotiations on permanent partial disability between employees and employers may stall, as employees become wary of releasing the employer from liability on the issue of permanent total disability. An already-protracted workers’ compensation process may slow to the pace of Pangea’s drift, with all parties moving further apart.
Administrative costs may also increase as the workers’ compensation system must account for the stalled negotiations between employers and employees. The Division of Workers’ Compensation may see an increase in final hearing requests, requiring lengthier hearings involving additional expert opinion evidence to address both distinct questions of PTD benefits against the employer and the fund. In the long-term, the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission’s caseload for reviewing division awards may also increase.
All parties, especially employers who find themselves the easier target for PTD benefits, may tire of the increasingly intractable new status quo and lobby the legislature for changes that once again throw the workers’ compensation framework into disarray. Perhaps in time the Missouri Legislature may find that a solvent fund that is also accessible to claimants is a public policy that benefits employees, employers, and the entire workers’ compensation system.
1 Aaron Hadlow is an associate at the Pettit Law Office located in Aurora.
2 Section 287.120.2, RSMo. See also State ex rel. Tri-Cnty. Elec. Co-op. Ass'n v. Dial, 192 S.W.3d 708, 710 (Mo. banc 2006) (“The Workers' Compensation Law provides the exclusive remedy against employers for injuries covered by its provisions.”)
3 Sections 287.020.6, .200, and .220, RSMo.
4 Section 287.200, RSMo.
5 See William E. Peterson, Employer and Second Injury Fund Liability for PTD Benefits After January 1, 2014, 72 J. Mo. B. 300, 302 (2016) (“Peterson”).
6 Section 287.220, RSMo.
7 Pierson v. Treasurer of State, 126 S.W.3d 386, 389 (Mo. banc 2004) (“The purpose of the fund is to encourage the employment of individuals who are already disabled from a preexisting injury, regardless of the type or cause of that injury.”).
8 Peterson, supra note 5, at 302.
10 See Federal Mut. Ins. Co. v. Carpenter, 371 S.W.2d 955 (Mo. 1963). James B. Slusher, The Second Injury Fund, 26 Mo. Law Rev. 328, 328 (1961). (“The second injury fund is established to assist in the continuing fight against the unemployment of those who are sufferers of some disability at the time of their employment.”)
11 Peterson, supra note 5, at 302.
12 Cosby v. Treasurer of State, 579 S.W.3d 202, 210 (Mo. banc 2019) (At the time of enactment “the legislature justifiably sought to limit the number of workers eligible for Fund benefits.”).
13 622 S.W.3d 178 (Mo. banc 2021).
14 644 S.W.3d 562 (Mo. banc 2022).
15 Dubuc v. Treasurer of State – Custodian of Second Injury Fund, 597 S.W.3d 372, 383 (Mo. App. W.D. 2020) (discussing “qualifying preexisting disabilities” in context of Section 287.220.3, RSMo).
16 Section 287.220.3(2)(a)a, RSMo.
18 See Treasurer of State-Custodian of Second Injury Fund v. Witte, 414 S.W.3d 455, 462 n. 4 (Mo. banc 2013), recognized as superseded by statute in Treasurer of State v. Parker, 622 S.W.3d 178 (Mo. banc 2021).
19 Section 287.220.3(2)(a)b, RSMo.
21 Parker, 622 S.W.3d at 180.
25 Id. at 180, n.3.
26 Id. at 181.
27 Id. at 182 (emphasis added).
28 Section 1.030, RSMo.
29 Id. at 182 (emphasis original).
30 Id. at 182.
31 Id. at 182. This seems sensible given that three of the four criteria under Section 287.220.3(2)(a)a(i)-(iv), RSMo, do not necessarily require injuries governed by the workers’ compensation framework.
32 In Parker, the Court also addressed an evidentiary issue relating to the admissibility of certain medical records unaddressed by the scope of this article. Id. at 182.
33 Id. at 182
34 Id. at 182 (emphasis original).
35 Id. at 182 (emphasis original).
36 Id. at 182.
37 Greer v. SYSCO Food Servs., 475 S.W.3d 655, 664 (Mo. banc 2015).
38 Section 287.220.3(2), RSMo (“Claims for permanent total disability under section 287.200 against the second injury fund shall be compensable only when . . .” conditions for qualifying and primary injuries are met) (emphasis added). See also, section 287.220.3(2)(a)b (“Such employee thereafter sustains a subsequent compensable work-related injury that, when combined with the preexisting disability, as set forth in items (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv) of subparagraph a. of this paragraph, results in a permanent total disability as defined under this chapter.”) (emphasis added).
39 Klecka, 644 S.W.3d at 564.
41 Id. at 565.
44 Klecka v. Treasurer of Missouri, No. ED 108721, 2021 WL 2546417, at *1 (Mo. App. June 22, 2021), reh'g and/or transfer denied (Aug. 10, 2021), transferred to Supreme Court of Missouri, 644 S.W.3d 562 (Mo. 2022).
45 Id. at *6.
46 Klecka, 644 S.W.3d at 564.
47 Id. at 567.
49 Id. (“Whether a claimant is permanently and totally disabled and whether that claimant is entitled PTD benefits from the Fund are entirely distinct questions.”).
50 Id. (citing Greer v. SYSCO Food Servs., 475 S.W.3d 655, 664-65 (Mo. banc 2015)).
51 Id. at 567.
52 Id. at 567.
53 Id. at 567.
54 Fed. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Carpenter, 371 S.W.2d 955, 957 (Mo. 1963) (“[I]t does not follow as a matter of course from the mere enactment of the legislation that the employer of the partially disabled is relieved of all obligations under the compensation law to an employee who in the course of his last employment becomes totally and permanently disabled. As stated, in the absence of an apportionment statute or second injury fund legislation, the employer is liable for the entire disability resulting from a compensable injury and this of course may include lifelong medical payments.”).
55 Parker was handed down April 20, 2021.
56 Injury Nos. 15-018291; 17-085909; 14-042039; 14-029821; 16-085212; 15-073485; 14-102499; 14-105395; 14-063032; 18-057914; 17-085134; 15-036120; 18-019636; 17-085134; 18-042133; 14-071392; 15-004011; 15-083958; 14-101480; 15-061022; 16-024233; 14-046969; 16-015998; 17-075220; and 19-078979.
57 Injury Nos. 17-085909; 14-042039; 14-029821; 15-073485; 14-102499; 14-063032; 18-057914; 17-085134; 15-036120; 18-019636; 18-042133; 14-071392; 14-101480; 15-061022; 16-024233; 14-046969; 16-015998; 17-075220; and 17-013765.
58 This is reflective of decisions through August 13, 2022. While the Fund was party to all 25 of these Awards, the issue of Fund liability may not have been substantively addressed in each of these Awards.
59 Parker, 622 S.W.3d at 180 (Mo. banc 2021) (affirming Commission Award denying PTD benefits against the Fund); Franklin v. Mitchell Mill Sys. USA, Inc., 625 S.W.3d 815 (Mo. App. S.D. 2021) (same); Phelps v. Missouri State Treasurer, 629 S.W.3d 47, 50 (Mo. App. S.D. 2021) (same); Anttila v. Treasurer of State, 632 S.W.3d 502 (Mo. App. S.D. 2021) (same); White v. Treasurer of State, 537 S.W.3d 681 (Mo. App. W.D. 2021) (same by per curiam); Chambers v. Treasurer of Missouri, 637 S.W.3d 681 (Mo. App. S.D. 2021) (same); Clinkenbeard v. Dep't of Corr., 643 S.W.3d 556, 558 (Mo. App. S.D. 2021) (same); Lexow v. Boeing Co., 643 S.W.3d 501 (Mo. banc 2022) (appeal dismissed, Commission Award denying PTD affirmed); Schebaum v. Treasurer of State, 645 S.W.3d 622 (Mo. App. W.D. Apr. 5, 2022), reh'g and/or transfer denied (May 3, 2022), app. for transfer denied (June 28, 2022) (same); Klecka, 644 S.W.3d at 567-68; March v. Treasurer of State, No. SC 99381, 2022 WL 2959600, at *1 (Mo. July 26, 2022) (affirming Commission Award denying PTD benefits).
60 Wilson v. Treasurer of State – Custodian of Second Injury Fund, 632 S.W.3d 874 (Mo. App. W.D. 2021) (reversing Commission Award denying PTD against the Fund); Lynch v. Treasurer of State, 635 S.W.3d 573 (Mo. App. E.D. 2021) (same); and Marberry v. Treasurer of Missouri, 635 S.W.3d 586 (Mo. App. E.D. 2021) (same). See also Weibrecht v. Treasurer of Missouri, No. ED 109591, 2021 WL 6048861, at *7 (Mo. App. E.D. Dec. 21, 2021) (same), application for transfer accepted (May 17, 2022); Swafford v. Treasurer of Missouri, No. WD 84562, 2022 WL 453139, at *1 (Mo. App. W.D. Feb. 15, 2022) (same), application for transfer accepted (May 17, 2022); Dubuc v. Treasurer of State, No. WD 84171, 2022 WL 677657, at *8 (Mo. App. W.D. Mar. 8, 2022), reh'g and/or transfer denied (May 3, 2022), application for transfer accepted (June 28, 2022); and Fields v. Treasurer of Missouri, 628 S.W.3d 803 (Mo. App. E.D. 2021) (affirming Commission award denying PTD benefits against the Fund for two injuries, but reversing Commission award denying PTD benefits for hearing loss and ordering entry of Award of PTD for hearing loss).
61 The author was unable to identify any appealed case where a Commission Award allowing PTD benefits against the Fund was reversed by a reviewing court. This case review is reflective of decisions through August 13, 2022.
62 See Weibrecht, No. ED 109591, 2021 WL 6048861, at *7; Swafford, No. WD 84562, 2022 WL 453139, at *1; and Dubuc, No. WD 84171, 2022 WL 677657, at *8.
63 Reviewing courts have not reversed any Commission Awards allowing PTD benefits against the fund.
64 Lynch, 635 S.W.3d at 575; Marberry, 635 S.W.3d at 588; Weibrecht, No. ED 109591, 2021 WL 6048861, at *7; Fields, 628 S.W.3d at 805.
65 Wilson, 632 S.W.3d at 877; Dubuc, No. WD 84171, 2022 WL 677657, at *8; Swafford, No. WD 84562, 2022 WL 453139, at *1.
66 Franklin, 625 S.W.3d 815; Phelps, 629 S.W.3d 47; Anttila, 632 S.W.3d 502; Chambers, 637 S.W.3d at 681; Clinkenbeard, 643 S.W.3d at 558.
67 It is worth noting that these statistics are grossly reductive of the reviewing courts’ decisions in these cases, as each present unique substantive issues. One might very well argue that these statistics merely suggest the reviewing court’s routine application of a highly deferential standard of review paid to the Commission’s factual and credibility findings.