Gleneagles v. Hanks

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Gleneagles, Inc., et al. v. Linda M. Hanks No. 57, September Term 2004 Headnote: COUR T S AUTHORITY TO G RANT INJUNCTIVE RELIEF PE NDING APPEAL OF A WORKE RS COMPEN SATION AW ARD; An Employer/insurer is not entitled to a stay or an injuncti on of a work ers com pensat ion aw ard pen ding ju dicial rev iew. In the Circu it Court for H arford C ounty Case No. 12-C003-001384 IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 57 September Term, 2004 ______________________________________ GLENEAGLES, INC., ET AL. v. LINDA M. HANKS ____________________________________ Bell, C.J. Raker Wilner Cathell Harrell Battaglia Greene, JJ. ______________________________________ Opinion by Greene, J. Raker, Wilner and Harrell, JJ., Dissent ______________________________________ Filed: March 11, 2005 Linda Hanks filed a claim with the Workers Compensation Commission, seeking benefits for an occupational disease sustained on March 1, 1990. The Commission determined on April 22, 1991, that Ms. Hanks should be compensated. Thereafter, Ms. Hanks filed several issues, requesting additional relief from the Commission. Gleneagles, Inc., the employer, contested Ms. Hanks s entitlement to additional benefits. In April 2000, Ms. H anks im pleade d the Su bsequ ent Inju ry Fund. In May, 2003, the Commission held a hearing and issued an Award of Compensation, finding, among other things, that Ms. Hanks had sustained a permanent partial disability, of which 50% w as attributable to the occupational disease of March 1, 1990. The Commission also found that Ms. Hanks s claim was not barred by limitations. The Commission ordered Gleneag les to pay Ms. Hanks $282.00 per week, beginning April 28, 1992, and continuing for 333 weeks. The Commission also ordered the Fund to pay Ms. Hanks $144.00 per week, beginning at the end of Gleneagles payments and continuing f or 240 week s. The award accounted from 1992, resulting in an obligation of $93,906 for Gleneagles and $34,560 for the Fun d. Gleneagles1 filed a Petition for Judicial Review in the Circuit Court for H arford Cou nty. Gleneag les also filed a Req uest for I mmedia te Te mpo rary R estraining Order and Request for Stay and/o r Preliminary Inju nction. On May 22, 20 03, a judge of the Circ uit Court held a hea ring in cham bers on tho se requests. T he court gra nted injunc tive relief to 1 Gleneagles insurer, American Manufacture rs Mutua l Insurance Comp any, is a party to this appeal but has not filed a separate brief. In addition, the Subsequent Injury Fund adopts Gleneagles brief. We shall refer to all petitioners as Gleneagles. Gleneagles on Ma y 27, 2003, issuing a temporary restraining order and stating that the Commission s order of May 9, 2003, is stayed by this order and the employer and insurer are required to make no monetary payments to the claimant pursuant to that order. The court held another hearing on July 28, 2003, to address Ms. Hank s s request to review the Temporary Restraining Order. The court issued an Order and Memorandum Opinion on September 19, 2003, striking the prior order and stating that the court had no authority to grant a stay of an Award of Compensation issued by the Commission. Gleneagles appealed. In a reported opinion, the Court o f Special A ppeals aff irmed the c ircuit court. Glene agles, In c. v. Ha nks, 156 Md. A pp. 543, 847 A .2d 520 (2004). 2 Gleneagles petitioned this Court for certiorari, which we gra nted. Gleneagles v. Hanks, 382 Md. 687, 856 A .2d 723 (2004 ). The issue before the Cou rt is whether the circuit court has the authority to grant injunctive relief in a workers compensation case pending an app eal of an award of monetary benefits from the Workers Compensation Com mission. We aff irm the interm ediate appellate court and hold that the court does not have the authority to issue a stay or an injunction pending the appeal of an award of monetary benefits from the Workers Compensation Commission. We shall adopt the F actual and Procedu ral History section of the Court of Special Appeals opinion, located at 156 M d. App. at 5 47-50, in order to avo id 2 We note that the Court of Special Appeals ordered placement of the proceeds under the aw ard in es crow w ith Han ks attor ney, pend ing the c onclus ion of a ppellate review . -2- repeatin g the de tailed fa cts, non e of w hich are dispute d by the p arties. STANDARD OF REVIEW Md. Rule 8-131 requires the appellate court to review actions tried without a jury on the law and th e evidenc e. There is n o factual d ispute in the case at bar. The que stion in this case is a legal one . While we have previously stated that trial courts have broad au thority to issue injunctive relief (Roper v. Camuso, 376 Md. 24 0, 260, 829 A.2d 58 9, 601 (20 03), this case is ultimately a question of statutory interp retation; and, th erefore, w e review th e Circuit Court s interpretation of the statute de nov o. See Davis v. Slater, 383 Md. 599, 604, 861 A.2d 78, 80 (noting that because . . . provisions of the Maryland Code, and the Maryland Rules are appropriately classified as questions of law, we review the issues de novo to determine if the trial court was leg ally correct in its rulings on these matters. ). DISCUSSION We begin by noting that the Workers Compensation Act should be construed as liberally in favor of injured em ployees as its pro visions w ill permit in order to effectua te its benevolent purposes. Any uncertainty in the law should be resolved in favor of th e claimant. Harris v. Board of Education of How ard C ounty, 375 Md. 21, 57, 825 A.2d 365, 387 (2003) (quoting Mayor of Baltimore v. Cassidy, 338 Md. 88, 97, 656 A.2d 757, 761-62 (1995 )). Section 9-741 of the Labor and Employment Article states, in pertinent part, that [a]n appeal is not a stay of: (1) an order of the Commission requiring payment of -3- compensation[.] Md. C ode (199 1, 1999 R epl. Vol.), § 9-741 of the Labor and Employment Article. In addition, Md. Rule 7-205 states: The filing of a petition does not stay the order or action of the administrative agen cy. Upon motion and after hearing, the court may grant a stay, unless prohibited by law, upon the conditions a s to bond or otherw ise that the court consid ers prop er. The cross references note after the Rule only cites § 9-741 of the Labor and Employment Article. We think that notation is significant. The language of § 9-741 of the Labor and Employment Article and the case law interpreting the no-stay p rovision inf orms us tha t in the case of a Workers Compensation Commission award, the court may not grant a stay, under Md. Rule 7-205, because to do so is prohibited by law. Gleneagles argues that despite the prohibition of a stay found in § 9-741 of the Labor and Employment Article, the Circuit Court nonetheless had the power to grant some kind of injunctive relief to Gleneagles, pending the appeal of the award to Ms. Hanks. In support of its argument, Gleneagles posits the general equitable power of the courts 3 and relies on Md. 3 In support of its argument that the court has the equitable power to grant injunctive relief in this case, Gleneagles relies on Bayshore Industr ies, Inc. v . Ziats, 229 Md. 69 (1962). In Bayshore, counsel for the claimant and counsel for the insurer agreed that the upcoming hearing before the Commission would be limited to the issue of limitation s. Bayshore, 229 Md. at 71. Desp ite this agreement, after the hearing the commissioner found that the insurer and employer were estopped from plea ding limitations, and then made an award to the claimant. Baysh ore, 229 Md. at 72. The insurer protested the award, arguing that the hearing should have been limited to the iss ue of lim itations. Id. The commissioner denied the request to review the decision and the case was eventually appealed to the Circuit Court for Harfo rd Cou nty. Id. That case was still pending when the claimant filed a separate action to enforce her Commission award and obtained summary judgment agains t the insu rer. Id. (contin ued...) -4- Rules 15 -501, et seq. M d. Rule 15 -501 prov ides, in pertine nt part: (a) Injunction. Injunction means an order man dating or pr ohibiting a specified a ct. (b) Preliminary injunction. Preliminary injunction means an injunction granted after opportunity for a full adversary hearing on the proprie ty of its issuance but before a final determination of the merits of the action. (c) Temporary restraining order. Temporary restraining order means an injunction granted without opportunity for a full adversary hearing on the 3 (...continued) The insurer appeale d, arguing that the claimant w as estopped from enforcing the aw ard because the award was granted in violation of due process, having been awarded without proper notice to the insurer that the hearing would encompass something other than the agreed-upon issue. Baysh ore, 229 Md. at 74. The claimant relied on the statutory no-stay provisio n to arg ue that s he sho uld be p ermitted to enfo rce the a ward. Id. We held that the claimant was equitably estopped from seeking a judgment based on the award and stated that we think it would b e uncons cionable to permit the appellee to take advantage of the award obtained so far as appears here . . . in flagrant violation of the stipulation entered into by her form er counse l. Bayshore, 229 Md. at 76. Regarding the no-stay provision, we expressly stated: We do not reach the question of the appeal from the awa rd not operating as a stay of the Co mmission s award. W e hold simply that on the basis of the stipulations entered into on her b ehalf the appellee may not repudiate the burden thereof and thereby obtain the benefit of an award without o pportunity to the defendants to have a full hearing on all issues remaining after the preliminary hearing on limitations, and that she is presently estopped from asserting that award until after determination of the appeal therefrom. We may note that the appellee s course of conduct does not sugge st that her case falls within the general policy which the prohibition against a stay by reason of an appeal has been held intended to serve that of affording day to day support to injured employees. Bayshore, 229 Md. at 76-77. Gleneagles reliance on Bayshore is misplaced. As just discussed, the facts of that case are easily distinguishable from the facts of the case at bar. Furthermore, we explicitly stated in Bayshore that we were not reaching the question of wheth er an ap peal fro m a Co mmiss ion aw ard cou ld oper ate as a s tay. -5- propriety of its issuance. Gleneagles asserts that to obtain a temporary restraining order or a preliminary injunction, one must overcome particular obstacles4 that are not required when obtaining a stay and, therefore, § 9-741 of the Labor and Employment Article does not prohibit the grant of injunctive relief under Md. Rules 15-501, et seq. of the Maryland Rules.5 We disagree. 4 For exam ple, when obtaining a temporary restraining order or prelimina ry injunction, unless the re quiremen t is waived by the court, a bond must be filed. Md. Rule 15503. Moreo ver, in order to obtain a temporary restraining order, one must show by affidavit that immediate, substantial, and irreparable harm will result to the person seeking the order. Md. Rule 15 -504 (a). A court may not issue a preliminary injunction without notice to all parties and an opportun ity for a full adversary hearing on the p ropriety o f its issua nce. Md. Rule 15-505 (a). By contrast, Md. Rule 7-205 (discussing stays of administrative agency decisions pending a ppeal to the circuit court), provides that [u]pon motion and after hearing, the court may grant a stay, unless prohibited by law, upon the conditions as to bond or otherwise that the court considers proper. 5 We note that the statute in this cas e does no t state an app eal is not an autom atic stay of an order requiring payment of compensation, nor does it, in some other way, leave open the possibility that having ov ercome p articular obsta cles, one m ight be able to procure a stay. Cf. Henr y v. Ge ntry Plu mbing & Hea ting Co ., 704 F .2d 863, 865 (5 th Cir. 1983) (discussing the Longshoremen s and Harbor Workers Compensation Act and referencing 33 U.S.C. § 9 21 (b) (3) w hich states that the payment of an award shall not be stayed pending final decision in any such proc eeding un less ordered by the Board . No stay shall be issued unless irreparable injury would otherwise ensue to the employer or carrier. ). Neither does our statute permit the act o f filing a n appe al to eff ectuate an auto matic sta y. Cf. Sisters of Provid ence v . East, 858 P.2d 155, 157 (Or. 1993) (discussing the Oregon statute that states that [f]iling by an employer or the insurer of a request for hearing on a reconsideration order or a request for board review or court appeal, stays payment of the compensation appealed . . . ) Rather, the Maryland s tatute states an app eal is not a stay of an order requiring payment of compensation. Md. Code (1991, 1999 Repl. Vol.), § 9-741 of the Labor and Employment Article. As discussed later in this opinion, a fair view of that statutory language and our previous case law on the subject directs the outcome in this case that is that an employer/in surer is not entitled to a stay or injunction of a workers compensation award pendin g judicia l review . -6- While there are differences in the rules regarding obtaining a stay of an administrative decision and an injunction generally, the result in this case is the same. Whether it is called an injunction, a tem pora ry rest raining o rder , or a s tay, Hanks was deprived of her wo rkers compensation award pending appeal. That is the very result the Legislature intended to avoid by enacting the no-stay provision. The general equitable powers of the courts cannot be relied upon in a case in which jurisdiction has been limited by law, as accomplished by § 9741 of the Labor and Employment Article. As stated in § 1-501 of the Courts and Judicial Procee dings A rticle, [t]he circuit courts are the highest common-law and equity courts of record exercising original jurisdiction within the State. Each has full common-law and equity powe rs and jurisdic tion in all civil an d criminal cases with in its county, and all the additional powers and jurisdiction conferred by the Constitution and by la w, except where by law jurisdiction has been limited or confer red exc lusively upon a nother tribuna l. Md. C ode (197 3, 2002 R epl. Vol.), § 1-501 of the Courts and Judic ial Proceed ings Article (emph asis add ed). In Branch v. In demn ity Ins. C o., 156 Md . 482 (192 9) w e discuss ed th e no stay provision of the Workers Compensation Act and whether that provision violated the right to jury trial because insurer/employers could be forced to pay awards before their appeals had been tried and determined. We determined that the no stay provision did not violate the right to jury trial. In addition, we stated: The right of the Legislature to provide that an appeal from a decision of the State Industrial Accident Commission shall not be a stay could not be denied, consistently with the principle upon which the general validity of the act has -7- been adjudicated. Its design w as to insure spee dy, as well as ce rtain, relief in proper cases w ithin the scope o f its app lication. That humanitarian policy would be seriously hampered if the weekly payments of compensation awarded by the commission could be suspended because of an ap peal. In providing that an appeal sh ould not b e a stay the s tatute was simply adopting a necessary expedient to accomplish one of the important purposes for which it was enacted. Id. at 489 ( emph asis add ed). Suspending payments of a compensation award by means of an injunction is ju st as detrimen tal to the claim ant as sus pending paym ent b y mea ns of a stay. We do not agree with Gleneagles that the different procedures for obtaining an injunction makes the grant of one any more palatable as far as the Workers Compensation A ct is conce rned. Gleneagles argues that to deny them injunctive relie f in this case is particularly harsh because of the large lump-sum payments ordered and because the law does not permit them to recover back any payments made even if they are ultimately successf ul on appeal. In St. Paul F ire and Marin e Insur ance v . Tread well, 263 Md. 430, 283 A.2d 601 (1971), the insurer paid Treadwell the awarded compensation and then prevailed on appeal. Treadw ell, 263 Md. at 430-31, 283 A.2d at 602. The insurer sought to recover the amount paid. Id. We noted that the statute d id not conta in explicit language forbidding or authorizing recovery of an award paid and later reversed on appeal. Treadw ell, 263 Md. at 431, 283 A.2d at 602. The insurer argued that the Legisla ture must h ave intend ed the reco very of such payments or it woul d not ha ve give n the em ployer the right to a ppeal. Id. The insurer also argued that to decid e otherw ise wo uld resu lt in the u njust en richme nt of the claima nt. Id. -8- In Treadw ell, we relied on Article 101 , §56 (a), (the predecessor to § 9-741 of the Labor and Emp loym ent Article)6 to ho ld that an overpaym ent d oes n ot pe rmit a reco very. Treadw ell, 263 M d. at 431 -32, 28 3 A.2d at 602. We discussed Branch and the humanitarian policy of pro viding speedy re lief in pr oper ca ses. Tread well, 263 Md. at 432, 283 A.2d at 602. We also quoted, with approval, the Kansas Supreme Court s statement that [t]he workmen s compensation act establishes a procedure of its own covering every phase of the right to compensation and of the procedure for o btaining and enforc ing it, which procedure is complete and exclusive in itself. Treadw ell, 263 Md. at 436, 238 A.2d at 604 (quoting Tompkins v. Rinner Construction Co., 409 P.2d 1001, 1003 (Kan. 1966) (holding that no 6 As we stated in Treadw ell: The pertinent language of the statute will be found in § 5 6(a) whic h, in part, is as follows: Any employer, employee, beneficiary or person feeling aggrieved by any decision of the Commission . . . may have the same reviewed by a proceed ing in the na ture of an a ppeal . . . in the circuit court . . . . If the court shall determine that the Commission has acted within its powe rs and has c orrectly construed the law and facts, the decision of the Commission shall be confirmed; otherwise it shall be reversed or modified. . . . An appeal shall not be a stay of an order of the Commission directing payment of comp ensation or the furnishing of medical treatme nt . . . . Treadw ell, 263 Md. at 431, 283 A.2d at 602 (quoting Md. Code (1964 Repl. Vol.), Art. 101, § 56 (a)) (emphasis add ed). The p redece ssor statu te noted that an appea l shall no t be a stay, whereas the current statute provid es that an appeal is not a stay. We do not think that chang e of ve rb tense chang es the m eaning of the p rovision . -9- recovery back was permitted, even though the workers compensation award was reversed on appeal). 7 We explained the decision to prohibit recovery after a successful appeal by stating: As we s ee it, whe n the Leg islatu re en acte d the no stay provision in § 56(a) it must have foreseen the possibility, and as well the pro bability that paymen ts would be made to claimants whose awards s ubseque ntly would be vacated on appeal. That it made no provision f or the restitution of those p ayments suggests to us that restitution was considered and rejected, and that, in lieu thereof, the disposition of appeals was expedited by giving them precedence over all cases except criminal cases. Surely this can hardly be said to serve any purpose other than th e mitigation of the employer s obligation to pay as ordered until the appeal has been d ecided . . . . It is of interest also to note that Mr. Pressman states categorically that the employer cannot recover any overpayme nts made to the claimant in the event of a reversal of the decision of the Comm ission. M. P ressman, W orkmen s Comp ensation in Maryland § 4-15 (1970). Treadw ell, 263 Md. at 437-38, 283 A.2d at 6 05. In conclu sion , we note d tha t the no st ay language of the statute reflected a legislative intent to preclude recovery back upon any theo ry, except fra ud perha ps. If we a re mistaken in this regard th e Genera l Assemb ly will know how to enlighten us. Treadw ell, 263 M d. at 439 , 283 A .2d at 60 6. While we appreciate the difficult position in which Gleneagles finds itself as a result of the large lump-sum award, we are not permitted to change the law for them. In Petillo v. Stein, 184 Md. 644, 42 A.2d 675 (1945), we discussed a case in which a claimant had 7 We noted in Treadw ell that as of the writing of that opinion, despite the bitter dissent in Tompkins, neither the court nor the Kansas Legislature had modified the result in that ca se. As of the writing of this opinion, thirty-four years after Treadwell, Tompkins is still good law in Kansas. -10- received a lump-sum payment of a Commission award from which the employer and insurer appealed. Petillo, 184 Md. at 646-4 7, 42 A .2d at 67 6. We discussed Branch and noted that that case inv olved only the sta y of wee kly payme nts. Petillo, 184 Md. at 649, 42 A.2d at 677. No netheless, w e also stated th at, [f]ailure to get a stay of converted lump-sum payments, especially if they consume the whole of the award, may raise other questions under some conditions. We are concerned he re, however, only with statutory provisions. No question arises of judicial relief where sub stantial fundamental rights are violated by arbitrary or unreaso nable adm inistrative action without ad equate statutory remedy. . . . The Legislature did not qualify its requirement that an appeal shall not be a stay, and we cannot attach any conditions to it. We must hold, following our previous decisions, that it applies to all appeals including those f rom co nverted or com muted award s. Petillo, 184 Md. at 649, 42 A.2d at 677 (internal citations omitted). The size of the award against Gleneagles is no reason to abandon our previous jurisprudence regarding the legislative mandate that an appeal is not a stay of a Commission award.8 As we s tated in Petillo, while lump sum awards are the exception rather than the rule, they are permitted. Petillo, 184 Md. at 652-53, 42 A.2d at 679. The Legislature wisely left the determination of when they should be made, and to what ex tent, in the discretion of the administrative body charged w ith special kno wledge o f the subjec t. This authority given to the Commission is 8 We will not violate the statutory mandate in any particular ca se in an attem pt to avoid an unjust re sult. See State Retirement and Pension System v. Thom pson, 368 Md. 53, 67-71, 792 A.2d 277, 285-88 (2002) (discussing a case in which a claimant received reduced disability retirement benefits because h e was also receiving w orkers com pensation b enefits and refusing to permit the circ uit court to ord er the State Retirement and Pen sion System to pay the claimant more than the relevant statutes permitted, even though the claimant was in a diffic ult finan cial pos ition). -11- safeguarded by ample op portunity for review by the courts. In cases where an appeal by the employer and the insurer is pending, the Commission should be careful to see that no damage is done to their fundamental rights by granting a request for a lump-sum conversion. On the other hand, there may be cases in which converted awards are very necessary for the proper care of injured workmen and their dependents. We cannot assume, in the case bef ore us, that the Commission did not properly consider all the circumstances before it acted. Petillo, 184 Md. at 653, 42 A.2d at 679. Similarly, we cannot assume that the Commission failed to properly consider all the circumstances before it acted in this case.9 We have previously discussed seeming inequities in the Workers Compensation Act and concluded that the Legislature must be the body to remedy any unfairness, should they consider it necessary. As stated in Paul v. Glidden, 184 Md. 11 4, 39 A.2d 544 (1944), [t]he Workmen s Compensation Act was passed to promote the general welfare of the State and to prevent the State and its taxpayers from having to care for injured workmen and their dependents, when u nder the law as it previously existed, such workmen could not recover damages for their injuries. 9 Gleneagles notes that Ms. H anks ma de many req uests for po stponem ents in this case and that the case lay dormant for quite some time, resulting in these large lump-sum payments. The Commission permitted the postponements and delay, and we will not presum e that the Com mission wron gly perm itted them . Moreover, despite Gleneagles argument to the contrary, Gleneagles is in no worse position than any other employer or insurer that is ordered by the Commission to pay an award and then later wins on appeal. If the award has already been p aid, Treadw ell instructs that it cannot be recovered after a s uccess ful app eal. Treadw ell, 263 Md. at 437-38, 283 A.2d. at 605. Glene agles argues that they are in a wo rse position than other emp loyers or insurers because the act of paying the Commission award creates an entirely new limitations period, even when subsequently reversed on appeal. We do not state any opinion on whether that statement is correct. Assuming, arguendo, that it is correct, however, we note that such a result is not something the Court can fix. The Legislature has created the no-stay provision and any seemingly unfair results that flow from that provision must be dealt w ith by the L egislatu re. -12- There were, in its first enactment, certain inequalities which have, from time to time , bee n corrected b y ame ndm ent. T here may b e a need for further amendm ent. As to this, w e express n o opinion , as it is not within our province. Some of the present provisions may be inequitable. To consider this, is also outside the scope of our duties. The enactment is made in pursuance of the police power . . . and the details must be left to the judgment of the Legisla ture, un less som e basic r ight is inf ringed . Glidden, 184 M d. at 119 , 39 A.2 d at 546. More over, as stated by the Court of Special Appeals in Montgomery County v. Lake, 68 Md. Ap p. 269, 511 A.2d 541 (1986): We are not unm indful of th e potential inequities pre sented by this ap peal. Where the claimant invokes his or her right to a lump sum conversion and the conversion is affirmed, the claimant has received a windfall if the underlying award on that claim is subsequ ently reduced or reversed on appea l. None would disagree in theory that funds which are disbursed without ultimate legal vindication should be recove rable. The short answ er to this problem is that protection against such a windfall is provided by the admonition in Petillo, supra, and the right to appellate review of a lump sum conversion. The long answer is found in [Glidden]. Lake, 68 Md. App. at 279, 511 A.2d at 546. The Court of Special Appeals then cited the passage in Glidden regarding the statute s inequities and concluded by stating [w]e inv ite the Legislature to redress the potential inequities presented by this appeal if they conside r it approp riate. We agree that any inequities presented by the case at bar must be redressed by the Legislature, if at all. Predicta bility and adm inistrative ease are impo rtant comp onents of workers compensation law and that is precisely why this is a question best left to the Legislature. See Ametek v. O Connor, 364 Md. 143, 159, 771 A.2d 1072, 1081 (holding that when the claimant was awarded more weeks and more money per week after an appeal of a workers compensation award, the insurer/employer was entitled to receive a credit for the -13- weeks paid prior to the appeal and the claimant was not permitted to receive money to cover the difference in the amount paid prior to the appeal, and stating that [j]ust as predictab ility and administrative ease are important from the standpoint of the timing of actions, so too are they important in establishing the rules governing the award of perma nent partial dis ability benefits. It simply will not do to have different rules, depending upon whether it is the claimant or the employer to whom the result is inequitable. ). The Legislature is in the best position to make any changes to such a complicated and detailed system. In view o f the plain language of § 9-741 of the Labor and Employment Article, and the relevant case law, it is clear that the Circuit Court does not have the authority to issue a stay or an i njunctio n of a w orkers comp ensatio n awa rd pend ing an a ppeal. JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS AFFIRMED. PETITIONERS TO PAY ALL COSTS. -14- In the Circu it Court for H arford C ounty Case No. 12-C003-001384 IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 57 September Term, 2004 ______________________________________ GLENEAGLES, INC., ET AL. v. LINDA M. HANKS ______________________________________ Bell, C.J. Raker Wilner Cathell Harrell Battaglia Greene, JJ. ______________________________________ Dissen ting Op inion b y Wilner, J ., which Raker and Harrell, JJ., join. ______________________________________ Filed: March 11, 2005 With resp ect, I dissent. I agree with the Court that the injunctive relief sough t by Gleneag les in this case was the equivalent of a reque st for a stay, one that the C ircuit Court in itially believed should be granted. It reversed course when persuaded, as this Cou rt now ho lds, that it had no authority to grant such a stay. I would find that § 9-741 of the Labor and Employment Article does not prohibit a court from granting a s tay of a Wo rkers Com pensation C ommission Order pending judicial review, although it severely limits the discretion of the cou rt in doin g so. The issue is one of statutory construction what is meant by the language of § 9-741 that [a]n appeal is not a stay of: (1) an order of the Commission requiring payment of compensation; or (2) an order or supplemental order of the Commission requiring the provision of medical treatment. On its face, that language simply makes clear that the seeking of judicial review does not, of itself, stay the effect of either of those two types of orders. It does not purport to preclude a court from granting a stay if, under the circumstances, a stay may be appropriate. Until 1960, the predecessor section to § 9-741 stated more bro adly that [a]n a ppeal shall not be a stay. See Maryland C ode (195 7), Art. 101, § 56(a). By 1960 Md. Laws, ch. 34, the Legislature narrowed that provision to make it applicable only to orders requiring the payment of compensation or the provision of medic al treatm ent. Provisions to the effect that the filing of an appeal or action for judicial review does not, of itself, act as a stay of an administrative order are common in statutes providing for administrative decision-m aking. Som e statutes con tain additiona l language that express ly permits a stay under limite d circum stances , while o thers are silent on the ma tter. See, for example , Maryland C ode, § 10-2 22(e) of th e State Go vernmen t Article: (1) The filing o f a petition fo r judicial review does not automatically stay the enforcement of the final decision. (2) E xcep t as otherwise prov ided by law, the final decision maker may grant or the reviewing court may order a stay of the enforcement of the final decision on terms that the final decision make r or cou rt consid ers prop er. See also Maryland Rule 7-205, governing actions for judicial review of orders entered by administrative agencies, including the Workers Compensation Commission: The filing of a petition does not stay the order or action of the administrative agen cy. Upon motion and after hearing, the court may grant a stay, unless prohibited by law, upon the conditions as to bo nd or o therwi se that th e court c onside rs prop er. No-automatic-stay provisions a re also com mon in w orkers com pensation laws throughout the cou ntry. See 8 A RTHUR L ARSON AND L EX L ARSON, L ARSON S W ORKERS C OMPENSATION L AW, § 130.08[4] and § 1 30.08D [4]. Those provisio ns are not o rdinarily interpreted as absolutely precluding a review ing court from granting a stay, however. Ra ther, according to Larson, [t]he usual rule is that such a stay will not issue in the absence of a showing that t he em ploye r will otherwise suffer irreparable damage and [t]he task of establishing irreparable damage is a hard one. Id. at § 130.08[4]. Larson observes that [t]he employer must first make a strong showing that the employer will probably prevail on the merits a job not made easier by the fact that the employer has just lost on the merits in a competent forum. Then the employer must show financial damage. Id. The law thus -2- permits courts to issue a stay in appropriate cases but places severe limits on its discretion to do so. That, I think, is, or at least ought to be, the Maryland law. I do not read Branch v. Indemn ity Ins. Co., 156 Md. 482, 144 A. 696 (1929), as the Court of Special A ppeals did in this case, as requiring a different result. All the Court held in that case was that the no-stay provision then in existence was constitutional, notwithstanding that it impinged upon the employer s right to a jury trial in the judicial review action. The Court pointed out that the humanitarian policy behind the Workers Compensation Act would be hampered if the weekly payments awarded by the Commission could be suspended because of an appea l and that, in providing that an appeal should not be a stay, the statute was simply adopting an exped ient to ac comp lish one of its im portan t purpo ses. Id. at 489, 1 44 A. at 698. (Emphasis add ed). Courts have traditionally been regarded as having the inherent power to stay Executiv e decisions in order to preserve the justiciability of the claim under review, so that the case does not bec ome m oot. If the Legislature really intended to preclude a reviewing court from granting a stay, rather than just providing that the petition itself did not serve as an autom atic stay, it could have said so. Indeed, given that such a prohibition w ould impinge upon an inherently judicial power, there is good reason not to assume such an intent by extended inference from otherwise neutral language. The Court can easily gratify the intent of the Legislature by clipping, but not amputating, the wings of a reviewing court, by adopting the -3- more general ap proach o f allowing, though s everely limiting, the ability of such a court to stay the kin d of or der me ntioned in § 9-7 41. Judges R aker and H arrell authorize me to state th at they join in this dis sent. -4-