Meadows v. Lewis

In Meadows v. Lewis, 172 W. Va. 457, 307 S.E.2d 625 (1983), the Court addressed the duty of the Commissioner to respond timely to the rights of Workers' Compensation claimants. In Meadows, the petitioners sought to have the Commissioner timely process temporary total disability and permanent partial disability claims. One of the pertinent legal issues in Meadows was the petitioners' request that the Commissioner be compelled "to promulgate rules and regulations governing "'the time within which adjudications and awards shall be made' as required by W. Va. Code 23-1-13." Meadows, 172 W. Va. at 473, 307 S.E.2d at 641. Based on W. Va. Code 23-1-13, the Court recognized that the Commissioner had a nondiscretionary duty to promulgate rules and regulations. Syllabus point 6 of Meadows states: "The commissioner is required by W. Va. Code 23-1-13 (1981 Replacement Vol.) to promulgate regulations specifying, inter alia, internal procedural time limits through which adjudications and awards are made." W. Va. Code 23-1-13 (a) 1995 provides: The workers' compensation division shall adopt reasonable and proper rules of procedure, regulate and provide for the kind and character of notices, and the service thereof, in cases of accident and injury to employees, the nature and extent of the proofs and evidence, the method of taking and furnishing the same to establish the rights to benefits or compensation from the fund hereinafter provided for, or directly from employers as hereinafter provided, as the case may require, and the method of making investigations, physical examinations and inspections, and prescribe the time within which adjudications and awards shall be made.