May 21, 2019

Archives for May 15, 2013

Morphic Fields and Change (Part 3): Abraham Maslow Rides Again

rhodesEditor’s Note: This is Part 3 of a series of articles on Morphic Fields and Change. If you haven’t already read Part 1 and Part 2, please take a moment and do so. We’ll wait.

You’re inspired to do something BIG – so big, it’s scary. And crazy as it sounds, you think you could do it, given half a chance. Now there’s this raging debate inside you:  are you going to go for it, or sit down until the thought goes away?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs can help you understand what’s going on inside of you. Remember that? Of course you do, but here it is anyway:

MorphicFieldsChart

Think of the whole triangle as your psychological morphic field, and each level as a sub-field. Here’s the problem:  your proposed leap to the apex threatens the four bottom levels, which right now are nicely in place. You’re a lawyer. Your income feeds you, puts a roof over your head, keeps the creditors at bay (especially those law school loans). You belong to a prestigious profession. You’ve gotten lots of strokes all your life for being a high achiever.

And now you’re going to throw all that away to start a catering business or write novels? Yeah right. You’ll end up alone and under a bridge. Sit down before you hurt yourself.

That’s what you’re up against if you want to make big changes. Right now, your psychic morphic field is in a state of what biology calls homeostasis:  “the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, esp. as maintained by physiological processes.”

Homeostasis is biology-speak for status quo; it’s that state where everything is in balance. We may not always like how things are balanced in our lives, but we like the balance itself. When we think about making big changes, we threaten to throw everything out of balance, shake up the whole energy field. No wonder we freak out.

We could take comfort in knowing that homeostasis is a state to which nature returns, and therefore all the levels we’re threatening will reorganize themselves to support our pursuit of the apex. We could, but we don’t. We take things like our survival and safety and sense of belonging and identity very seriously. Threatening them all with one leap is just too scary.

Fortunately, there are some things we’ll do even if we’re afraid. That takes courage, which is not the absence of fear but action in the face of it. Courage is an essential element of any kind of change, but especially that scary leap to the top of Maslow’s pyramid.

To be continued.

Kevin Rhodes helps individuals and organizations to make change that comes from the inside out. He leads workshops on change for a variety of audiences, including the CBA’s Job Search and Career Transitions Support Group. You can email Kevin at kevinzdr@gmail.com.

Colorado Court of Appeals: In Workers’ Compensation Proceeding, 18-Month DIME Physician’s Findings Carry No Presumptive Weight Regarding Impairment Ratings

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Meza v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office on Thursday, May 9, 2013.

Workers’ Compensation—Jurisdiction—Weight of Evidence—Substantial Evidence—CRS § 8-42-107(8)(b)(II).

In this workers’ compensation action, claimant sought review of a final order of the Industrial Claim Appeals Office (Panel). The order was affirmed.

Claimant sustained an admitted, compensable injury in 2004 when a cow bone fell on his right foot. On November 26, 2004 his authorized treating physician (ATP) placed him at maximum medical improvement (MMI) with no impairment and released him to work, with no restrictions. Plaintiff continued to experience pain and developed low back pain four years after his initial injury.

His employer, Swift Foods Company, and its insurer, Zurich American Insurance Company (collectively, employer), agreed to reopen the claim in 2008. A new ATP suspected claimant had developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and that his low back pain was related to the foot injury. Employer retained a physician to conduct an independent medical examination (IME). The physician found that claimant had reached MMI, and that the low back pain was unrelated to the 2004 injury.

Because the ATP had not placed claimant at MMI within eighteen months of commencing treatment, employer requested a division-sponsored independent medical examination (DIME). The DIME physician examined claimant in January 2010 and placed him at MMI as of the date of the exam. The DIME physician rated claimant’s impairment at 10% of the whole person for CRPS and 11% for his spine, giving him a 20% impairment rating of the whole person.

Employer filed a final admission of liability (FAL) based on the DIME physician’s MMI and impairment ratings. Claimant moved to strike the FAL, arguing that a physician performing an eighteen-month DIME is limited to determining MMI and may not give an impairment rating. An administrative law judge (ALJ) agreed with claimant, struck the FAL, and ordered claimant to see his ATP for a permanent impairment evaluation. The ATP rated claimant at 18% for his spinal injuries, 10% for CRPS, and 4% for the lower extremity, resulting in a total impairment rating of 27% of the whole person.

Employer requested a second DIME to review the ATP’s impairment rating. The second DIME agreed that claimant had reached MMI in January 2010, but rated his impairment at 18% of the whole person. In her deposition, however, she corrected herself and rated him at 4% of the whole person.

At the hearing, claimant objected to the second DIME physician’s opinions. The ALJ found that when claimant moved to strike the FAL he waived his opportunity to rely on any presumptive weight that might otherwise have been given to the eighteen-month DIME’s impairment rating. The ALJ awarded claimant PPD benefits based on an impairment rating of 10% of the lower extremity, but found claimant’s spine injury and CRPS unrelated and therefore awarded no benefits for those conditions. The Panel affirmed.

On appeal, claimant argued he was entitled to a higher impairment rating because (1) the ALJ was bound by the eighteen-month DIME physician’s opinions and therefore lacked jurisdiction to rule on the relatedness of his alleged CRPS and low back conditions; and (2) the ALJ improperly assigned him the burden of overcoming the second DIME’s opinion. The Court of Appeals disagreed.

Claimant argued the determination of the eighteen-month DIME physician’s opinion was binding on the ALJ because neither party had requested a hearing to challenge his opinions. In general, a DIME physician’s opinions concerning MMI and permanent medical impairment are given presumptive effect. However, the Panel has found this general rule does not govern as to impairment when an eighteen-month DIME determination is requested under CRS § 8-42-107(8)(b)(II), because it does not mention or address impairment. The Court found that this a reasonable interpretation of the statutory language and an eighteen-month DIME report under this section only carries presumptive weight concerning MMI.

Consequently, the causation findings associated with the impairment ratings carried no presumptive effect and were not jurisdictionally binding on the ALJ. The impairment rating was advisory only and did not statutorily close the issue of causation of impairment.

Claimant also argued that the ALJ “did not enforce the presumption of validity” associated with the eighteen-month DIME physician’s causation determinations. The Court found this argument premised on the incorrect notion that the eighteen-month DIME physician’s causation opinions were related only to MMI. To the extent they were related to impairment ratings, they were not subject to presumptive weight. It was for the ALJ to determine whether the impairment opinions expressed by the second DIME physician, including the causes of impairment, had been overcome by clear and convincing evidence. The ALJ’s findings in this regard will not be set aside if supported by substantial evidence in the record. The Court found such evidence in the record. The order was affirmed.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Town’s Fees Regarding Oil and Gas Wells Clearly Prohibited by Statute

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in Town of Milliken v. Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas LP on Thursday, May 9, 2013.

Oil and Gas Well Safety and Security Inspection Fees—CRS § 34-60-106(15).

The Town of Milliken (Town) appealed the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of Kerr-McGee Oil & Gas Onshore LP (Kerr-McGee). The judgment was affirmed.

In 1983, the Town enacted a series of ordinances that imposed fees on oil and gas wells within its boundaries. In 1996, the General Assembly amended existing state oil and gas law by enacting House Bill 96-1045. As relevant here, the new legislation, codified in part at CRS § 34-60-106(15), states:

No local government may charge a tax or fee to conduct inspections or monitoring of oil and gas operations with regard to matters that are subject to rule, regulation, order, or permit condition administered by the [Oil and Gas Conservation] [C]ommission. Nothing in this subsection (15) shall affect the ability of a local government to charge a reasonable and nondiscriminatory fee for inspection and monitoring for road damage and compliance with local fire codes, land use permit conditions, and local building codes.

In 2003, the Town enacted another ordinance concerning oil and gas wells that authorized the Town to inspect wells, equipment, and structures to determine compliance with the land use code, the Town fire code, the Town building code, and all other Town health or safety standards. The Town imposed an annual $400 inspection fee for each well within its boundaries that had not been plugged or abandoned. It was undisputed that the Town has never conducted the inspections described. In 2008, the Town enacted an ordinance imposing an annual $400 security inspection fee on each active oil and gas well within its boundaries. The fee was intended to offset the costs incurred by the Town’s police department for additional security checks that the well sites require. It was undisputed that the Town’s police conducted such checks on a regular basis before 2003. In 2010, the Town repealed and replaced the portion of the land use code containing both of the above provisions and replaced it with a provision authorizing inspections of wells and an annual $400 security fee on active oil and gas wells within the Town’s boundaries.

In 2010, the Town sued Kerr-McGee and others seeking to collect the security fees from 2003 onward. Kerr-McGee moved for summary judgment, which was granted in its favor. The district court held that the Town lacked the statutory authority to impose the fees. The Town appealed.

The Court or Appeals found it patently clear that oil and gas well safety and security are matters subject to rule, regulation, order, or permit condition administered by the Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Thus, the Town’s fees under all of the ordinances above are clearly prohibited. The summary judgment was affirmed.

Summary and full case available here.

Colorado Court of Appeals: Transfer to Tribal Court Denied Because Dependency and Neglect Proceedings At Advanced Stage

The Colorado Court of Appeals issued its opinion in People in Interest of T.E.R. on Thursday, May 9, 2013.

Dependency and Neglect—Indian Child Welfare Act—Termination of Parent–Child Legal Relationship.

In this dependency and neglect proceeding, mother and father appealed from the order denying transfer of jurisdiction to a tribal court under 25 USC § 1911(b) of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). Father also appealed the judgment terminating the parent–child legal relationship between him and his child, T.E.R. The order and judgment were affirmed.

In September 2011, the Department of Human Services of the City and County of Denver (Department) filed a petition in dependency and neglect based on mother’s substance abuse and mental health issues and father’s incarceration. In October 2011, the Department sent a notice to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa (Tribe), pursuant to the ICWA, based on mother’s report that she was registered with the Tribe. The Tribe responded that it intended to intervene. Before it did so, the juvenile court adjudicated T.E.R. dependent and neglected and adopted treatment plans for mother and father.

In May 2012, the Tribe moved to intervene, alleging that T.E.R. was eligible for membership. The juvenile court granted the motion. The Department then moved to terminate mother’s and father’s parental rights.

In July 2012, mother moved to transfer jurisdiction to tribal court. The Department and guardian ad litem (GAL) opposed, arguing that good cause existed to deny the motion, because the case was at an advanced stage and could not be adequately presented in the tribal court without undue hardship to the parties or witnesses. In October 2012, after hearing arguments but not taking evidence, the court found good cause to deny the transfer. Following a two-day hearing, the juvenile court entered judgment terminating mother’s and father’s parental rights.

On appeal, mother and father contended it was error to find good cause to deny transfer of jurisdiction. The Court of Appeals disagreed.

The state and the tribe have concurrent jurisdiction under the ICWA over Indian children who live off the reservation. The tribal court is the preferred jurisdiction and, in the absence of good cause, the state must transfer jurisdiction to the tribe. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has issued guidelines for determining whether good cause exists. As relevant, those guidelines provide that good cause exists if the proceeding was at an advanced stage when the petition to transfer was received, or if the evidence necessary to decide the case could not be adequately presented in the tribal court without undue hardship to the parties or witnesses. The determination is within the juvenile court’s discretion. The Court found that substantial evidence in the record supported the juvenile court’s finding of good cause to deny transfer for the reasons stated.

The Court declined to address father’s argument regarding the transfer of jurisdiction because he failed to raise it in the juvenile court; therefore, it was waived. The order and judgment were affirmed.

Summary and full case available here.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 5/14/13

On Tuesday, May 14, 2013, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued two published opinions and six unpublished opinions.

Thurman v. Martin

Goddard v. Heldt

United States v. Hamilton

Green v. Snyder

United States v. McConnel

United States v. Simpson

No case summaries are provided for unpublished opinions. However, published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.