Schwinn v. Labor Comm'n

Annotate this Case
Schwinn v. Labor Comm., No. 981319-CA, Filed February 4, 1999 IN THE UTAH COURT OF APPEALS

----ooOoo---- Sonni Schwinn,
Petitioner,

v.

Labor Commission; and Aetna Life & Casualty Ins. Co. dba Human Affairs International Co., Inc.,

Respondents. )
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) MEMORANDUM DECISION
(Not For Official Publication)

Case No. 981319-CA

F I L E D
February 4, 1999

1999 UT App 026

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Original Proceedings in this Court

Attorneys:
Sonni Schwinn, Murray, Petitioner Pro Se
Brad C. Betebenner and S. Brook Millard, Salt Lake City, for Appellee
Alan Hennebold, Salt Lake City, for Respondent Labor Commission
 


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Before Judges Wilkins, Davis, and Jackson.

JACKSON, Judge:

¶1     Schwinn primarily challenges the administrative law judge's (ALJ's) findings of fact, as ratified by the Utah Labor Commission's Appeals Board (Board). 1  "We review the Board's findings of fact in accordance with the Utah Administrative Procedures Act and will reverse only if the findings made by an administrative agency are 'not supported by substantial evidence when viewed in light of the whole record before the court.'" V-1 Oil Co. v. Division of Envtl. Response and Remediation, 962 P.2d 93, 94 (Utah Ct. App. 1998) (quoting Utah Code Ann. §63-46b-16(4)(g) (1997)). The term "substantial evidence" means "'that quantum and quality of relevant evidence that is adequate to convince a reasonable mind to support a conclusion.'" Id. (quoting First Nat'l Bank v. County Bd. of Equalization, 799 P.2d 1163, 1165 (Utah 1990)). However, when we review the Board's evaluation of inconsistent evidence, we will not replace that with our preference "'between two reasonable conflicting views, even though we may have come to a different conclusion had the case come before us for de novo review.'" Id. (quoting Grace Drilling Co. v. Board of Review, 776 P.2d 63, 68 (Utah Ct. App. 1989)). After all, "[i]t is the province of the Board, not appellate courts, to resolve conflicting evidence, and where inconsistent inferences can be drawn from the same evidence, it is for the Board to draw the inferences.'" Id. (quoting Grace Drilling, 776 P.2d at 68). With these principles in mind, our exhaustive review of the record reveals that the findings of fact were supported by substantial evidence. We therefore affirm the Board's findings of fact.

¶2     The Board's findings of fact led to its conclusion of law that Schwinn did not carry her burden of showing the legal causation necessary to her mental stress claim. See Utah Code Ann. § 34A-3-106 (1997). "Legal causation requires proof of extraordinary mental stress arising predominantly and directly from employment," and is "judged according to an objective standard in comparison with contemporary national employment and nonemployment life." Id. Our legislature has given the Labor Commission--i.e., the Board--broad discretion to apply the laws regarding worker's compensation. See Johnson Bros. Constr. v. Labor Comm'n, 967 P.2d 1258, 1259 (Utah Ct. App. 1998) (citing Utah Code Ann. § 34A-1-301 (1997)). "We therefore review the [Board's] decision for reasonableness." Id.

¶3     Scwhinn presented no evidence facilitating an objective comparison between the stressors found in HAI's work environment and those found in "contemporary national employment." Utah Code Ann. § 34A-3-106 (1997). The only evidence regarding this element of legal causation was a statement from Dr. McCann's evaluation of Schwinn that "[t]he nature of the work experience which [Schwinn] described appeared to be fairly common in corporate environments." Along with "nonemployment life" factors considered by the Board, this statement supports the Board's conclusion that Schwinn did not show legal causation under the statute. We therefore affirm the Board's ruling as "well within '"the bounds of reasonableness and rationality."'" Johnson Bros., 967 P.2d at 1261 (quoting Osman Home Improvement v. Industrial Comm'n, 958 P.2d 240, 243 (Utah Ct. App. 1998) (quoting Niederhauser Ornamental & Metal Works Co. v. Tax Comm'n, 858 P.2d 1034, 1037 (Utah Ct. App. 1993))).

We have reviewed Schwinn's arguments regarding due process and corruption within the Labor Commission and have determined those arguments to be without merit; consequently, we decline to address them. See State v. Carter, 776 P.2d 886, 888-89 (Utah 1989) (stating we "need not analyze and address in writing each and every argument, issue, or claim raised and properly before us on appeal"). Accordingly, we affirm.
 

______________________________
Norman H. Jackson, Judge

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WE CONCUR:
 

______________________________
Michael J. Wilkins,
Presiding Judge
 

______________________________
James Z. Davis, Judge

1. The Appeals Board acknowledged that the ALJ's findings of fact contain certain "misstatement[s] of . . . dates and other details," but stated that the misstatements "do not bear on the underlying merits of Ms. Schwinn's claim." We agree and note that the misstatements are immaterial to this appeal.