In 2003, the WCAC reversed the magistrate’s ruling, denying benefits for Jamie. But this legal battle was far from finished. Over the next four years, in appeal after appeal, Wall and Macy argued over those two workers’ comp statutes. They finally agreed to apply the rule stating that the child was not required to be living with the employee to receive benefits. Then the debate focused on which specific points in that statute were applicable here. The final question came down to this: Had Moore “deserted” Jamie? According to the second sentence in the statute, a child is “dependent for support upon a deceased employee” if the child “has been deserted by such deceased employee.” In December 2007, the Court of Appeals gave the last word: “We conclude that decedent Scott Moore did not desert his daughter, Jamie Douglas, and, as a result, Jamie was not a conclusive dependent.” Jamie was, therefore, not eligible for benefits. Had Moore deserted Jamie, she would have been eligible. Says Douglas’s attorney, “It kind of makes you scratch your head, doesn’t it?”
Was justice served? Does Jamie Douglas deserve benefits? Tell us what you think in the comments section.