Oral argument: Jan. 11, 2012
Appealed from: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Nov. 10, 2010)
In 2002, Petitioner Dana Roberts slipped on a patch of ice while working for his employer, Respondent Sea-Land Services. After the fall, Roberts claimed disability and sought compensation under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. Initially, Sea-Land paid Roberts, but, in May 2005, Sea-Land discontinued payments. An administrative law judge ordered Sea-Land to resume payments, but a dispute arose concerning the proper method for calculating payment. In this case, the Supreme Court will decide when Petitioner Roberts was “newly awarded compensation” under the Act. Roberts argues that this occurred in 2007, when the administrative law judge entered the compensation order. However, Sea-Land Services argues that the judge correctly determined that this occurred in 2002, the year Roberts became entitled to compensation. The Court’s decision will determine which fiscal year is used to calculate the maximum compensation owed. The result could substantially increase Roberts’s compensation under the Act, and will determine how such calculations are performed in similar federal compensation programs.