Mallett v. LIRC (Worker’s Compensation)

In Mallett v. LIRC (2017AP1601), the Court of Appeals District I held that part of a worker’s compensation claim was barred by issue preclusion but directed further litigation on the plaintiff’s other claims.

Gregory Mallett filed and received awards for worker’s compensation claims in both 1981 and 1983. LIRC denied a 2007 claim that the 1983 injury and previous work had contributed to Mallett acquiring an occupational disease. Mallett filed the instant claim from the Work Injury Supplemental Benefits Fund in 2014, alleging his work in 1984, in addition to the 1981 and 1983 injuries, caused an occupational disease.

The Labor and Industry Review Commission (LIRC) agreed with the Fund that issue preclusion barred Mallett’s claims because the 1981 and 1983 injuries had already been litigated and because Mallett lacked evidence to prove his 1984 work caused the occupational disease.

The appeals court partially set aside the LIRC decision. The court agreed that issue preclusion barred Mallett’s argument that the 1981 and 1983 injuries were a cause of the occupational disease. Those claims had already been litigated and assessed fairly by LIRC. However, the court found Mallett’s alleged injuries stemming from his 1984 work had not yet been litigated and remanded the case to LIRC for additional fact finding.