No. 2 CA-IC 2018-0002
COUNSEL Neil Draper, Tucson In Propria Persona The Industrial Commission of Arizona, Phoenix By Jason M. Porter Counsel for Respondent CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company Mark A. Kendall, Associate General Counsel By Joseph N. Lodge, Tucson Counsel for Respondents Employer and Insurer
THIS DECISION DOES NOT CREATE LEGAL PRECEDENT AND MAY NOT BE CITED EXCEPT AS AUTHORIZED BY APPLICABLE RULES.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
See Ariz. R. Sup. Ct. 111(c)(1); Ariz. R. Civ. App. P. 28(a)(1), (f); Ariz. R. P. Spec. Act. 10(k).
Special Action - Industrial Commission
ICA Claim No. 91347-038622
Insurer No. 9158129
Gary M. Israel, Administrative Law Judge
Neil Draper, Tucson
In Propria Persona
The Industrial Commission of Arizona, Phoenix
By Jason M. Porter
Counsel for Respondent
CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company
Mark A. Kendall, Associate General Counsel
By Joseph N. Lodge, Tucson
Counsel for Respondents Employer and Insurer
Presiding Judge Staring authored the decision of the Court, in which Chief Judge Eckerstrom and Judge Brearcliffe concurred.
STARING, Presiding Judge:
¶1 In this statutory special action, petitioner Neil Draper challenges an administrative law judge's (ALJ) award granting CopperPoint Mutual Insurance Company's petition for rearrangement or readjustment of compensation and denying his petition for rearrangement or readjustment of workers' compensation benefits. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.
Factual and Procedural Background
¶2 "We view the evidence in the light most favorable to affirming the Industrial Commission's findings and award." City of Tucson v. Indus. Comm'n, 236 Ariz. 52, ¶ 2 (App. 2014). While employed by Campo AG in November 1991, Draper sustained shoulder injuries from an airplane propeller striking both his arms. He filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits for his injuries, and Campo AG's insurance carrier accepted the claim. The Industrial Commission found Draper was entitled to $405.68 per month in permanent compensation due to his loss in earning capacity.
¶3 In February and March 2017, the insurance carrier and Draper each filed a "Petition for Rearrangement or Readjustment of Compensation." The insurance carrier claimed Draper's current earnings made it appropriate to recalculate his permanent compensation entitlement to $332.05. Draper, however, appears to have petitioned for an increase in his compensation, arguing that he has "not had an adjustment in [his] loss of
earning capacity in over 20 years." The Industrial Commission denied Draper's petition and granted the insurance carrier's petition, reducing Draper's monthly compensation to $332.63. Draper protested both decisions, and the ALJ conducted a hearing in December 2017 at Draper's request. At the hearing, Draper argued his compensation benefits should be increased due to the rising cost of living. The ALJ concluded that Draper's argument was contrary to law and that he had presented no credible evidence in support of his petition.
¶4 Draper requested review, and the ALJ subsequently affirmed his decision. This special action followed. We have jurisdiction pursuant to A.R.S. §§ 12-120.21(A)(2), 23-951(A), and Rule 10, Ariz. R. P. Spec. Act.
¶5 Draper has failed to comply with the rules of appellate procedure to such an extent that we deem his claim waived. Specifically, his opening brief lacks any statement of the case, facts, or issues. See Ariz. R. Civ. App. P. 13(a); Ariz. R. P. Spec. Act. 10(k) (Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure apply to special action review of Industrial Commission awards). Further, an opening brief must contain an adequately developed argument, with "contentions concerning each issue presented for review, with supporting reasons for each contention, and with citations of legal authorities and appropriate references to the portions of the record on which the [petitioner] relies." Ariz. R. Civ. App. P. 13(a)(7)(A). Each contention must also contain appropriate references to the record and articulate the applicable standard of review with citation to supporting authority. Ariz. R. Civ. App. P. 13(a)(7)(B). Draper has failed to meet any of these requirements.
¶6 Rather than an argument, Draper essentially restates his testimony, already considered by the ALJ, and makes other complaints about the Industrial Commission's procedures. He contends the insurance carrier and the Industrial Commission "have been violating human rights for years" and they "are both the most vicious and cruel companies" in regard to helping injured workers. Draper, however, fails to present any legal analysis or cite any authority. See Ariz. R. Civ. App. P. 13(a)(7). Further, he does not allege any error on the part of the ALJ. See A.R.S. § 23-951(B) (appellate review of Industrial Commission award "limited to determining whether or not the commission acted without or in excess of its power" and whether findings of fact supported ALJ's decision).
¶7 Although proceeding in propria persona, Draper is "held to the same familiarity with required procedures and the same notice of
statutes and local rules as would be attributed to a qualified member of the bar," and he "is entitled to no more consideration than if he had been represented by counsel." Copper State Bank v. Saggio, 139 Ariz. 438, 441 (App. 1983). Accordingly, because Draper has failed to comply with the rules, we deem his claims waived and do not address them. See Polanco v. Indus. Comm'n, 214 Ariz. 489, n.2 (App. 2007).
¶8 For the foregoing reasons, we affirm the ALJ's award.