West Virginia Law Review

Document Type



The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, since it achieved its present composition by virtue of the November, 1976, general election, has had a dramatic impact on the development of workmen's compensation law in West Virginia. Although it is difficult to single out the most significant decisions of the court in this area, most practitioners would probably agree that the two cases having the greatest impact upon workmen's compensation practice and related matters are Mandolidis v. Elkins Industries, Inc. and Mitchell v. State Workmen's Compensation Commissioner. The Mandolidis decision received extensive treatment in an earlier article in this law review and has had widespread notoriety. The Mitchell decision has received less publicity than Mandolidis, but is, perhaps, no less significant in its impact. The issues that it raised have spurred, at least in part, a significant statutory amendment and at least three major procedural changes within the Workmen's Compensation Fund. In addition, a number of supreme court decisions have enlarged or refined the Mitchell decision. Although the legal reasoning in the Mitchell decision is questionable, and in the short run numerous overpayments of temporary total disability benefits have resulted, the West Virginia Workmen's Compensation Fund has since dealt with the problems created by the court's decision in a positive way. The long term effects of Mitchell may prove, in fact, to be satisfactory and beneficial to employer and employee alike. This article will consider the changes wrought by Mitchell and its progeny and will suggest solutions still needed by all parties for an effective resolution of problems raised by the decision and for the attainment of a fair and equitable system of processing workmen's compensation claims.



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