You be the Judge: The Case of the Kid and the Cash

An unmarried, absent father dies at work. Does his company have to pay to support his child?

By Vicki Glembocki
Also in Reader's Digest Magazine May 2014

dollar signNoma Bar for Reader’s Digest

The Verdict

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.

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  • Your Comments

    • anonymous

      He did desert her, in a way. Regardless, he died and she deserves benefits.

    • A Friend

      Today marks 16 years Scott has been gone. It’s a bit sobering to think about. He was the first person I lost that I cared about. He was a good man and well loved.

      Reading these comments is hard. Scott had his faults. So did Jessica. Neither one of them was the picture of stability or function and their on-and-off relationship certainly reflected that. They were very good at causing one another pain. Everyone commenting here would do well to reflect on that. Court documents provide a very one-dimensional view of what happened. It’s hardly sufficient to give any of you enough information to judge. Scott is not here to defend himself. Jessica has her past drug up once again. His daughter can read what you’re saying. Think about that. He loved his baby fiercely and it would be a pity if she were to start to believe otherwise.

      Someday, the whole lot of us, friends and family, are going to be sitting in heaven wondering why we couldn’t overlook more and be a source of healing in each other’s lives.

      Stacy, you are a woman who seeks God and strives to live a life that honors Him. Forgive words that cut and give love. 70 x’s 7

      Jessica, you have had so much pain in your life. I’m sorry this has caused you more. I pray that you will one day fully know God’s complete and total love.

      Jamie, you are all of Scott that’s left in this world. Know that there are people out there who love you and are praying for you that you don’t even know. Your life has had it’s share of troubles. But God molds us and shapes us and works all things for good.

      Every child grows up and sees the faults and humanity of their parents. We realize that they loved us fully, even though they were human and imperfect. Sorry yours are plastered on the internet.

      Scott, we miss you.

      And, finally, let’s give Jamie the blessing of loving all her family without feeling like she has to take sides.

    • Karma Tony, Karma

      Jamie deserves a better verdict and father. Thank God she didn’t have to live her whole life with a dead beat dad. I hope that Tony regrets what his company did and dies with regret and remorse in his heart.

    • the girl next door

      I am glad Jamie is “out growing” the Moore family. I always knew she would, that bunch of DNA shares are like a cancer.