SW Legal studies in Business

Ability to Do a Little Work Not Enough to Lose Workers’ Compensation Disability Benefits

Ohio high court held that a worker who had been declared permanently totally disabled could continue to receive benefits despite evidence that he did some work. His work was sporadic and more in the nature of a hobby than supporting employment.

Topic Employment Law
Key Words

Workers’ Compensation; Disability; Evidence

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

McGraw was declared permanently and totally disabled in 1986. Later, he became very active in muzzle-loading firearms and became a recognized expert in the firearms.  He worked some at a small business owned by his wife that was dedicated to muzzle-loading firearms. His wife ran the business and had two part-time employees who did gunsmith work. In 1998, McGraw was declared legally blind due to glaucoma. His former employer, AT&T, filed a motion to terminate workers compensation as fraudulent, contending that McGraw was not permanently and totally disabled due to his work at the gun shop. The Industrial Commission (IC), which handles workers’ compensation in Ohio, denied AT&T’s motion, finding that McGraw was not capable of sustained employment. The gun work was more hobby than employment. AT&T appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the IC determination. AT&T appealed again.


Affirmed. Appeals court defer to decisions of the IC. There was evidence to support the IC conclusion that McGraw could not engage in sustained employment. The evidence supported the IC conclusion that his work at his wife’s business was limited and more of a hobby than sustaining employment.

Citation AT&T v. McGraw, 895 N.E.2d 842 (Sup. Ct., Ohio, 2008)

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