State, ex Rel, Smith,
Indus. Comm

Not overruled or negatively treated on appealinfoCoverage
Supreme Court of OhioMar 28, 1990
50 Ohio St. 3d 45 (Ohio 1990)
50 Ohio St. 3d 45553 N.E.2d 247

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No. 88-1911

Submitted February 6, 1990 —

Decided March 28, 1990.

Workers' compensation — Worsening of claimant's condition after retirement does not transform what was initially a voluntary non-injury retirement into an involuntary retirement.

APPEAL from the Court of Appeals for Franklin County, No. 87AP-861.

Appellant, Joseph A. Smith, sustained several industrial injuries while working for appellee Whiteway-Spaulding Manufacturing ("Whiteway-Spaulding"). On April 1, 1985, Whiteway-Spaulding completed a "Pension Plan for Employees * * * [;] Request for Benefit Computation: * * * Final" on appellant's behalf, that indicated a June 1, 1985 retirement date. The type of pension sought was recorded as "Early, after age 55 and 10 yrs. of service." On April 22, 1985, appellant submitted a signed one-line note that read:

"I, Joe Smith, give notice of my intention to retire effective June 1, 1985."

Appellant retired as planned.

In May 1986, appellant asked the appellee Industrial Commission ("commission") to reactivate claim No. 82-34609, which related to an industrial injury that had occurred on January 11, 1982, and requested temporary total disability compensation from June 1, 1985 through December 1, 1986. Commission staff hearing officers eventually denied compensation, finding that appellant's retirement was unrelated to his industrial injury and therefore voluntary.

Appellant filed a complaint in mandamus in the Court of Appeals for Franklin County alleging that the commission abused its discretion by finding voluntary retirement. The court disagreed and denied the writ.

This cause is now before this court upon an appeal as of right.

Roeller, Roeller Jameson and Robert K. Roeller, for appellant.

Anthony J. Celebrezze, Jr., attorney general, Michael L. Squillace and Merl H. Wayman, for appellee Industrial Commission.

Dinsmore Shohl and George B. Wilkinson, for appellee Whiteway-Spaulding Manufacturing.

Temporary total disability compensation may be denied where a claimant voluntarily retires. State, ex rel. Jones Laughlin Steel Corp., v. Indus. Comm. (1985), 29 Ohio App.3d 145, 29 OBR 162, 504 N.E.2d 451. A retirement that is causally related to an industrial injury, however, is not voluntary. State, ex rel. Rockwell Internatl., v. Indus. Comm. (1988), 40 Ohio St.3d 44, 531 N.E.2d 678; State, ex rel. White Consolidated Industries, v. Indus. Comm. (1990), 48 Ohio St.3d 17, 548 N.E.2d 926. This determination is a factual question within the commission's final jurisdiction. White, supra, at 18, 548 N.E.2d at 927.

The appellate court's ruling preceded our decisions in Rockwell and White. Upon review, however, we find that the appellate court nonetheless reached the proper result.

In contending that his retirement was involuntary, appellant claims that two factors motivated his decision to leave: (1) his April 22, 1985 industrial injury, and (2) the commission's concurrent declaration of temporary total disability in another claim. The record, however, does not support either allegation.

The April 1, 1985 pension calculation form indicates that a June 1, 1985 retirement was contemplated prior to appellant's alleged April 22, 1985 industrial injury. Further, there is no indication in the record that appellant was receiving temporary total disability compensation in any other claim during the several months preceding his retirement. While appellant's condition may have worsened after retirement, it does not transform what was initially a voluntary non-injury retirement into an involuntary one.

Based on the foregoing, the appellate court judgment is affirmed.

Judgment affirmed.