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Michael L. Hall v. Knoll Building Maintenance

September 7, 2012

MICHAEL L. HALL, APPELLEE,
v.
KNOLL BUILDING MAINTENANCE, INC., APPELLEE, AND KANSAS WORKERS COMPENSATION FUND, APPELLANT.



Appeal from Workers Compensation Board.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. Under the Kansas Judicial Review Act (KJRA), K.S.A. 77-601 et seq., appellate courts may grant relief if the Kansas Workers Compensation Board erroneously interpreted or applied the law.

2. Interpretation of statutes and regulations is a question of law subject to unlimited appellate review.

3. Appellate courts afford no significant deference to statutory interpretations by the Kansas Workers Compensation Board.

4. Statutes are to be interpreted by ascertaining the intent of the legislature. Unless a statute is ambiguous, the legislative intent should be ascertained through the language employed, giving ordinary words their ordinary meanings.

5. When a statute is plain and unambiguous, appellate courts must give effect to the statute's express language, instead of determining what the law should or should not be.

6. Appellate courts should not speculate about legislative intent or read a statute in a manner that adds something not readily contained within the statute.

7. K.S.A. 44-573 authorizes the Director of Workers Compensation to adopt and promulgate such rules and regulations as he or she deems necessary for the purposes of administering and enforcing the provisions of the Kansas Workers Compensation Act. Upon filing with the Secretary of State, such rules and regulations have the force and effect of law.

8. Rules and regulations adopted by the Director of Workers Compensation are presumed to be valid, and one who attacks them has the burden to show their invalidity.

9. Rules or regulations adopted by the Director of Workers Compensation must be consistent with statutory authority. Those rules or regulations that violate a statute or are inconsistent with the statutory powers of the Workers Compensation Director are void.

10. In adopting K.S.A. 44-505(a)(2), the legislature intended to exclude small businesses with a gross annual payroll of not more than $20,000 from the Workers Compensation Act. Likewise, the legislature intended that the wages of employees who are members of an employer's family-either by marriage or by blood-are not to be included when determining whether the employer's gross annual payroll is greater than $20,000.

11. Because a corporation cannot have family members, cannot marry, and cannot be related to another person by blood, the family member exclusion set forth in K.S.A. 44-505(a)(2) does not apply to corporate employers. Accordingly, K.A.R. 51-11-6 is not in conflict with K.S.A. 44-505(a)(2).

12. Public policy determinations in the area of statutory provisions are to be made by the legislature and not by judicial fiat.

The opinion of the court was delivered ...


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