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England v. Amerigas Propane

Supreme Court of Colorado, En Banc

May 30, 2017

Victor England, Petitioner
v.
Amerigas Propane and Indemnity Insurance Company of North America, Respondents

          Certiorari to the Colorado Court of Appeals Court of Appeals Case No. 15CA1210

          Attorneys for Petitioner: Dean Neuwirth P.C.

          Attorneys for Respondents: Lee Kinder, LLC Joshua D. Brown

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Defense Lawyers Association: University of Colorado Patrick T. O'Rourke Donald A. Kaade

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Department of Labor, Division of Workers' Compensation: Cynthia H. Coffman, Attorney General Emmy A. Langley, Assistant Attorney General

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Trial Lawyers Association: Ogborn Mihm, LLP Thomas Neville

          Attorneys for Amicus Curiae Colorado Workers' Compensation Education Association: Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, P.C. John M. Connell

          Attorney for Amicus Curiae Pinnacol Assurance: Harvey D. Flewelling

          JUSTICE HOOD and JUSTICE GABRIEL do not participate.

          OPINION

          RICE, CHIEF JUSTICE

          ¶1 This case requires us to determine whether a provision of the mandatory form settlement document promulgated by the Director of the Division of Workers' Compensation ("Director") waives an injured employee's statutory right under section 8-43-204(1), C.R.S. (2016), to reopen a settlement based on a mutual mistake of material fact.[1] We hold that it does not because provisions of the form document must yield to statutory rights. Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         I. Facts and Procedural History

         ¶2 Petitioner Victor England was a truck driver for Amerigas Propane ("Amerigas"). He filed a workers' compensation claim after sustaining a serious injury to his shoulder in December 2012 while making a delivery for Amerigas. England underwent two surgeries in the first half of 2013 to repair his shoulder.

         ¶3 In July 2013, Amerigas's physician reported that England should reach maximum medical improvement ("MMI") in two or three months. England was still in pain after the second surgery, but believing that the pain was part of the recovery process and would subside as he healed, he agreed in ...


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