Griffin v. Absolute Fire Control, Inc.
|March 12, 2021
|Attorney for the Case
|Amicus Brief Writers
|Erwin Byrd Stewart Poisson
|NC Supreme Court
This is a workers’ compensation case that involves issues pertaining to disability and suitable employment. One method that an injured worker may use to prove disability involves a showing that it would be futile due to age, limited education, inexperience or other factors for the injured worker to search for work. Here, Mr. Griffin continued to work for Absolute in light duty work but alleged that the job was not suitable employment and that he was disabled. The Full Industrial Commission held that Mr. Griffin presented “no evidence” of futility of jobs search, even though he presented uncontested evidence that he was 49 years of age; had only a ninth grade education; had only ever worked in construction and pipefitting; had restrictions of no lifting greater than 20 pounds, amongst others, which disabled him from pipefitting; and that he needed to leave work at times due to pain. His treating physician had also recommended vocational rehabilitation which the Commission found had not yet been provided.
The Commission also found that the employer had suitable employment available to Mr. Griffin that was not make work, even though the employer testified that Mr. Griffin would probably be discounted from being hired by Absolute absent a recommendation from a current employee. Mr. Griffin appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded for further findings in a divided opinion. 13 defense amici joined to file an amicus brief in support of the defense at the Supreme Court. NCAJ has filed an amicus brief in favor of Mr. Griffin on the issues of disability and suitable employment. The Court also granted PDR on the issue of whether Mr. Griffin proved disability through a reasonable yet unsuccessful job search.