Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Divisions II, III, IV
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION
Goldberg & Dohan; by: Andy L. Caldwell, for appellant.
Worley, Wood & Parrish, P.A., by: Melissa Wood, for
Gruber, C.J., and Gladwin and Glover, JJ., join.
Walter Farris appeals from the April 20, 2017 opinion of the
Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission)
that found Farris's claim for additional benefits was
barred by the statute of limitations. The Commission's
opinion affirmed the opinion of the administrative law judge
(ALJ). Farris's sole point on appeal is that his claim
for additional benefits is not time-barred. We agree and
reverse and remand
was injured on the job on May 12, 2014, when a crane fell on
him. His employer, Express Services, Inc., initially paid
benefits for the injury claim. Farris received medical
treatment until he was released to full duty on April 28,
filed a Form AR-C for additional benefits on May 5, 2016. He
incorrectly named Great Dane Trailers as the employer because
he mistakenly believed that he worked for Great Dane Trailers
since that was the physical location of his employment. In
fact, he worked for Express Services, Inc., a
temporary-employment agency, but was assigned to Great Dane
Trailers. Once he realized the mistake, he filed an amended
form AR-C on May 13, 2016. The Commission affirmed and
adopted the ALJ's decision that Farris's claim for
additional benefits was barred by the statute of limitations.
Farris timely appealed.
only question on appeal is whether Farris's claim for
additional benefits is time-barred because he mistakenly
named the wrong employer in his otherwise timely filed claim.
Code Annotated section 11-9-702(b)(1) governs the time for
filing a claim for additional compensation:
In cases in which any compensation, including disability or
medical, has been paid on account of injury, a claim for
additional compensation shall be barred unless filed with the
commission within one (1) year from the date of the last
payment of compensation or two (2) years from the date of the
injury, whichever is greater.
absent some action that tolled the statute of limitations,
Farris's claim for additional compensation had to be
filed within one year of April 28, 2015 (the date of the last
receipt of medical benefits) or two years from May 12, 2014
(the date of injury). He filed the form AR-C for additional
benefits naming the incorrect employer (Great Dane Trailers)
on May 5, 2016. He filed the amended form AR-C naming the
correct employer (Express Services, Inc.) on May 13, 2016,
one day after the statute of limitations had run.
Dillard v. Benton County Sheriff's Office, 87
Ark.App. 379, 192 S.W.3d 287 (2004), our court considered
whether a form that was timely filed but contained a mistake
tolled the statute. The mistake in Dillard involved
a claimant checking the wrong boxes to indicate the claim was
for initial benefits when it should have indicated it was for
additional benefits. Our court noted that it was obvious that
the claimant intended to file a claim for additional benefits
and that "despite the fact that the wrong boxes were
checked . . . because it was timely filed, [the claim] tolls
the statute of limitations." Id.
employer argues that it was Farris's burden to file the
form correctly and that he should have known his employer was
Express Services, Inc., not Great Dane Trailers, because he
submitted his timesheets to Express Services, Inc., and his
paychecks were consistently issued by Express Services, Inc.
However, our court has held that the determinative factor is
the timeliness of filing of the form and that minor mistakes
such as these ...