32.0652 Judicial review of order-Stay of compensation payment.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 32.0652]

(a) If not in accordance with law, a compensation order may be suspended or set aside, in whole or in part, through injunction proceedings, mandatory or otherwise, brought by any party in interest against the Commissioner, and instituted in the High Court of American Samoa.

(b) The orders, writs and processes of the court in such proceedings may run, be served and be returnable, anywhere in the Territory.

(c) The payment of the, amounts required by an award, shall not be stayed pending final decision in any such proceeding unless, upon application for an interlocutory injunction, the court, on hearing and after not less than 1 days notice to the parties in interest and the Commissioner, allows the stay of such payments, in, whole or in part, where irreparable damage would otherwise ensue to the employer. The order of the court allowing any such stay shall contain, specific findings based, upon evidence submitted, to the court and identified by reference thereto, that such irreparable, damage would result to the employer, and, specifying the nature of the damage.

History: 1967, PL 10-15.

Case Notes:

Irreparable damage to employer refers to uninsured employer, not government or government insurer. Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, ASR (1979).

Review standard for measuring “in accordance with law” is that stated in 4.1044. Hartford Fire Ins. Co. v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, ASR (1977).

Appeal must be action for injunctive relief. Appellate division, absent specific statutory authority to review Workmen’s Compensation Commission orders, lacks jurisdiction. Waite v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission. ASR (1976).

Cairn of employer seeking review of compensation award under Administrative Procedure Act provisions for review, set out in 4.1022. et seq., that this section and 32.0653 are fatally ambiguous, was without merit In re Westerlund v. Scanlan, 4 ASR 995 (1975).

Judicial review of’ compensation. award. must be instituted within 30 days of the date of filing of the award; otherwise the award becomes final and not subject to judicial review, In re Westerlund v. Scanlan, 4 ASR 998 (1975).

In view of this section’s provision for review of a compensation order, award of benefits’ could not be reviewed under the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act where that act, 4-1022, provided that “judicial review may not be sought under this subchapter of any proceedings for which the law specifically provides other adequate means of judicial review” In re Westerlund. Scanlan, 4 ASR. 998 (1975).

A compensation claimant is a real party in interest under this section and is thus entitled as a matter of right to intervene in a proceeding under this section. In to Westerlund. v. Scanlan, 4 ASR 998 (1975).

Through proper procedure for intervention by a real party in interest in a proceeding under this section is by written motion to intervene since such party is entitled to intervene as a matter of right, there is no prejudice to an appellant if the technical requirement is waived and the real. party in interest is allowed to proceed with a motion to dismiss the appeal. In re Westerlund v. Scanlan, 4, ASR 998 (1975).

Refusal to utilize the unambiguous provisions of this section stating the exact and only method of judicial. review, such refusal being based on an alleged. inadequate wording in 32.0653, which pertains only to. enforcement proceedings, would be deemed completely unconscionable where there was no valid reason or explanation for not following this section. In re Westerlund. Scanlan, 4, ASR 998 (1975).

Territorial workmen's compensation statute, under which reviewing court could set aside decision of Workmen’s Compensation Commission only if it was "not in accordance with the law," precluded court from reversing a finding of fact by the commission for which there was substantial evidence in the record of the commission's proceeding. A.S.C.A. § 32.0652. Continental Insurance Co. v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 7 A.S.R.2d 105 (1988).

Decision of Workmen’s Compensation Commission may be set aside only if the decision was not made in accordance with law. A.S.C.A. § 32.0652 Continental Insurance Co. v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 8 A.S.R.2d 152 (1988).

Court reviewing findings of fact by workmen's compensation would not reverse a finding unless a reasonable person could not have concluded as the commission did from the evidence in the record.

A.S.C.A. § 32.0652. Continental Insurance Co. v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 7 A.S.R.2d 105 (1988).

Court would not reverse Workmen’s Compensation Commission finding that fatal heart attack "arose out of and in the course of" decedent's employment, even though the heart attack had occurred at home rather than at work, where the commission record reflected that (1) decedent had a history of heart trouble but medical treatment had brought his condition under control in the months preceding his heart attack; (2) decedent had recently been transferred from his job as a night watchman to a highway maintenance job involving physical labor; (3) the punitive and involuntary transfer had created emotional pressures that testifying physician cited as a possible factor in the heart attack; (4) after the transfer decedent's symptoms had taken a drastic turn for the worse; (5) the heart attack had occurred eleven days after decedent had begun work on the road crew. A.S.C.A. §§ 32.0520, 32.0652. Continental Insurance Co. v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 7 A.S.R.2d 105 (1988).

Workmen’s Compensation Commission decision should be overturned on appeal only if it is not in accordance with the law. A.S.C.A. § 32.0652. Star-Kist Samoa, Inc., v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 7 A.S.R.2d 149 (1988).

Workmen’s Compensation Commission decision should be upheld by reviewing court if supported by substantial evidence, whether or not the court would have reached the same conclusion from the evidence as the commission did. A.S.C.A. § 32.0652. Star-Kist Samoa, Inc., v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 7 A.S.R.2d 149 (1988).

Court will not disturb Workmen’s Compensation Commission decision if record contains evidence from which a reasonable person could conclude that the injury and death were work-related and it does not appear that the commission arbitrarily and capriciously disregarded substantial evidence to the contrary. A.S.C.A. §§ 32.0642, 32.0652. Star-Kist Samoa, Inc., v. Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 7 A.S.R.2d 149 (1988).

If a Workmen’s Compensation Commission's statutory interpretation is permissible under the statutes and regulations, the court should defer to the Commission's decision; but if that construction is inconsistent with a statutory mandate, frustrates legislative policy, or renders the statutes ineffective, the court must set aside the decision. A.S.C.A. § 32.0652(a). National Pacific Insurance Co. v. Commissioner of the American Samoa Government's Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 22 A.S.R.2d 15 (1992).

Statutory provision providing for judicial review of Workmen’s Compensation Commission orders excludes other avenues of judicial review but does not preclude reconsideration proceedings at the administrative level. A.S.C.A. §§ 32.0652-32.0653. Harris v. Commissioner of the American Samoa Government Workmen’s Compensation Commission, 24 A.S.R.2d 124 (1993).