Opinion:Martin v. City of Tulsa, 2021 OK CIV APP 19
Subject matter:Workers’ Compensation
Date Decided:August 12, 2020; mandate issued May 26, 2021
Trial Court:Workers’ Compensation Commission
Route to this Court:Appeal from an order of the Workers’ Compensation Commission assigned to the Court of Civil Appeals (Division III)
Facts:Petitioner/Appellant, a Tulsa firefighter, had a work-related injury to his right wrist and was unable to work for four months. Pursuant to statute and his collective bargaining agreement, Appellant was paid his full wages during the period of time that he could not work due to his injury. Eventually, he was also awarded $19,896.80 in partial permanent disability (PPD) for a 28% impairment to his right wrist. Because the wages he received while unable to work exceeded the statutory maximum for a temporary disability award by a total of $13,526.19, the City of Tulsa requested a reduction of Appellant’s award of PPD by this amount. The administrative law judge (ALJ) granted the City’s request and the Commission affirmed, rejecting all of Appellant’s arguments that the reduction should not apply to him.  
Standard of Review:De novo review of questions of law.
Analysis:Appellant marks four separate arguments that the ALJ and the Commission erred by reducing his PPD award: (1) 85A O.S.Supp.2014 § 89 only applies to “advance payments”; (2) 11 O.S.Supp.2012 § 49-111 is a “specific” law that prevents the § 89 deduction; (3) the reduction violated Appellant’s collective bargaining agreement; and (4) the City of Tulsa’s charter supersedes § 89 under the “home rule” doctrine. None of the Appellant’s arguments are persuasive. 
Vote:3-0. Opinion by Bay Mitchell, P.J. Concur: Swinton, V.C.J, and Goree, J. (sitting by designation)
Other: Petition for Cert denied 6-2 (Gurich and Edmonson, JJ. write an 8-page dissenting opinion). Also, 85A O.S.Supp.2014 § 89 was amended subsequent to Appellant’s injury to specifically prohibit deduction of any benefits on account of wages paid by the employer pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. Although the amendment would change the result in this case, no party argues the new provision should be applied to this case.