Adkins v. Industrial Commission

In Adkins v. Industrial Commission, 95 Ariz. 239, 244-46, 389 P.2d 118, 121-22 (1964), the supreme court found unconstitutional a statutory revision allowing for change of an award of compensation only upon a showing of a subsequent change in the physical condition of a claimant. The court concluded that the revised statute "has the effect of decreasing the amount due a claimant under the prior act which allowed for a showing of changed earning capacity or a change in the claimant's physical condition by withdrawing from the Commission the right to consider matters affecting the workman's earning capacity after a nine-month period." Id. at 245, 389 P.2d at 121. Consequently, the challenged provision violated Article 18, Section 8, of the Arizona Constitution because "it reduces the amount of compensation due in all those cases where the claimant's earning capacity rather than his physical condition is the determining factor." Id. at 246, 389 P.2d at 122. In Adkins, the legislature attempted to limit the ability of a claimant to change an award of compensation by requiring that the claimant's petition for rearrangement be accompanied by a subsequent change in the claimant's physical condition affecting his or her earning capacity. Thus, the legislature did "precisely what the legislature cannot do" - it enacted a statutory revision that removed an avenue of recovery formerly available to a claimant, and the change had both the intent and effect of reducing the amount of compensation to which a claimant was previously entitled. Id.