In April of this year, the Ohio Supreme Court issued a ruling on a 1997 Workers’ Compensation claim where an injured worker had been given only $2000 after breaking his leg in a fall at his factory job. That man was one Robert Wise, who had not been represented by an attorney. Instead, his father helped him sign the settlement. Per the April court decision, Wise was tested to have an IQ of 72, reading at fourth-grade level, and on the borderline of mental retardation.
In 2002, a lawyer took Wise’s case and reopened it, beginning the series of events which led to the Ohio Supreme Court now overruling the 1997 settlement. It had been between Wise and the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
On April 29 that Bureau issued an internal order forbidding any destruction of past settlement records. The possibility looms that many past claims may now be reopened since the Ohio Supreme Court has overruled this one particular past case.
Between 1997 and 2007, the Bureau settled 255,266 claims. At present, it is not clear how many of them might be affected by the Ohio Supreme Court decision.