What to Expect

Court Actions



In a mandamus action a person goes to the court and asks it to tell the government to do something it should have done already. It is just that simple. In the workers’ compensation field, it is most commonly employed when the Industrial Commission grants or denies benefits, and a party has a problem with it. They file a mandamus action (NOT AN APPEAL!) to the Court of Appeals asking for “relief” from the agency’s decision. In mandamus actions there is no jury. Rather, a 3-judge panel from the Court of Appeals in Columbus decides the case. Once the case is initiated the parties file briefs and have oral arguments before the 3-judge panel. The judges then review everything, do the necessary medical and legal research, and render a decision. It need not be unanimous. Because the Court's schedule is quite heavy these actions do take several months.

It is very difficult to get the Court of Appeals to overturn a decision by a state agency if there is “some evidence” in support of the determination. “Some evidence” can actually be interpreted as “any evidence” in most cases. This is because the law allows courts to “defer” to the expertise of the agency when making most decisions. Basically the law starts out giving the agency the “benefit of the doubt” and you pretty much have to prove otherwise. Simply stated, if you want to have the Court of Appeals overturn a decision by the Industrial Commission, you need to have a pretty good reason. It is not impossible. But it’s tough. Your attorney will be able to tell you more about these situations when you meet with him about it.

You should seriously consider seeking the advice and help of an attorney if a party to your workers’ compensation files a mandamus action. Not only do the Rules of the Court of Appeals and The Ohio Rules of Civil Procedure apply, but there is a great deal of technical jargon, legalese, and complicated issues to address. As a result the entire way the case is presented and decided is different than in the administrative arena.


Gibson Law Offices
Main Office: 545 Helke Road, Vandalia, Ohio 45377 | Phone: (937) 264-1122 | Fax: (937) 264-0888
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