Arizona Industrial Commission Must Recognize the Validity of Superior Court Ruling Regarding Marital Status
A surviving spouse whose husband dies in a work-related accident can get monthly death benefits in Arizona. If she remarries, the monthly payments from worker’s compensation benefits cease. But if the second marriage is annulled, can the spouse seek reinstatement of the monthly benefits from the Industrial Commission?
Can the Industrial Commission refuse to honor the annulment if it disagrees with the superior court’s ruling? The Arizona Supreme Court discussed this issue in Jackson v. Industrial Commission, 592 P.2d 1258 (1979).
Superior Court Annulment Ignored by the Industrial Commission
Mr. Jackson died in a job-related accident in 1970. His widow, Mrs. Jackson, received widow’s benefits of $366 per month. Five years later, she married a man named Mr. Haugh. At that time, her monthly benefits stopped. She received a lump sum payment instead.
Eight years later she asked the superior court to annul her second marriage. She claimed that Mr. Haugh had defrauded her. He told her he loved her, she claimed, just to get the lump sum death benefits. His false claims of love tricked her into marriage. The superior court granted the annulment.
Mrs. Jackson next asked the Industrial Commission to reinstate the monthly benefits. As part of the request, she returned the lump sum payment. However, the Industrial Commission hearing officer denied the petition. He said that false statements of love were not a valid reason to annul a marriage. He ruled that the superior court did not have jurisdiction to annul the marriage. Mrs. Jackson appealed to the Court of Appeals.
That court ruled that the Commission was wrong to refuse to honor the annulment. The Supreme Court of Arizona accepted review.
Widow Entitled to Reinstatement of Benefits after Annulment
A widow’s workers’ compensation death benefits stop when she remarries. She receives instead a lump sum settlement. If the marriage is annulled, the widow can petition the Industrial Commission to have the monthly payments reinstated. She must, however, return the lump sum settlement amount.
The Arizona Supreme Court only addressed one question. It considered whether the Commission can refuse to accept a superior court ruling granting an annulment.
Prior Arizona Law on the Authority of the Industrial Commission
The Court discussed prior Arizona law about whether the Industrial Commission is bound by a superior court annulment ruling. The leading case is Southern Pacific Company v. Industrial Commission, 91 P.2d 700 (1939).
In that case, a widow receiving death benefits remarried. She got the marriage annulled based on her husband’s impotence. The Industrial Commission refused to reinstate her monthly benefits. It found the annulment was invalid. Impotency, it said, was not a valid ground for annulment.
This ruling was eroded in the case of Means v. Industrial Commission, 515 P.2d 29 (1973). There, the Arizona Court overruled the part of the Southern Pacific holding that impotency was not grounds for annulment. The Court did not discuss the collateral attack on the annulment in the Industrial Commission proceedings.
The Arizona Supreme Court discussed the collateral attack issue in the present case. It said that allowing the Commission to ignore a court decision was a mistake. It said that in this case, the hearing officer incorrectly ruled that the superior court could not grant the annulment.
Based on this, he refused to reinstate the widow’s benefits. The Court noted: “The hearing officer, in effect, became an appellate judge reviewing a decision of the Superior Court”.
The Court ruled that the Industrial Commission may not ignore a judgment of the Superior Court. That is, it may not collaterally attack a superior court ruling in Commission proceedings.
The Arizona Supreme Court overruled Southern Pacific v. Industrial Commission, and cases following it. It held that a superior court judgment cannot be collaterally attacked in an Industrial Commission proceeding. It affirmed the Court of Appeal ruling setting aside the hearing officer’s decision in this case.
If you have questions about the industrial commission recognize validity regarding marital status in an Arizona divorce case, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona divorce and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in divorce and family law cases.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your Arizona divorce or family law case around today.
More Articles About Divorce in Arizona
- The advantage of Filing Divorce First in Arizona
- Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Arizona
- Arizona Divorce
- Arizona Divorce Attorney Reviews
- Arizona Divorce Child Custody
- Arizona Divorce Debt
- Arizona Divorce Forms
- Arizona Divorce Laws
- Arizona Divorce Laws Alimony
- Arizona Divorce Laws and Statutes
- Arizona Divorce Laws on Adultery
- Arizona Divorce Papers
- Arizona Divorce Practice
- Arizona Divorce Process
- Arizona Divorce Records Search
- Arizona Marriage Laws
- Asset and Property Search in an Arizona Divorce
- Arizona Divorce When You Can’t Find Your Spouse
- Change to Maiden Name After Divorce in Arizona
- Changing Orders in an Arizona Divorce Decree
- Children and Divorce in Arizona
- College Expenses After Divorce in Arizona
- Complex Divorce Cases in Arizona
- Conciliation Court Services in Arizona
- Consent Required for Marriage of Minors in Arizona
- Considering the Children during a Divorce in Arizona
- Convert to a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- Coping With Divorce in Arizona
- Court Services to Save a Marriage in Arizona
- Custody of the Family Pet in a Divorce in Arizona
- Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona
- Divorce After Legal Separation in Arizona
- Divorce and Children in Arizona
- Divorce Arizona
- Divorce Case is on the Inactive Calendar in Arizona
- Divorce Court Jurisdiction in Arizona
- Divorce in Arizona Without Children
- Divorce Procedures in Arizona
- Divorce Records in Arizona
- Divorce Statistics in Arizona
- Divorce Support Groups in Arizona
- Domestic Violence and Divorce in Arizona
- Effect of Adultery on an Arizona Divorce
- Effects of Divorce on Children in Arizona
- Enforceable Arizona Prenuptial Agreements
- Failure to Include an Issue in an Arizona Divorce
- Filing for Divorce in Arizona
- Filing for Divorce to Receive Alimony in Arizona
- Guide to Divorce for Men in Arizona
- High Asset Divorce in Arizona
- High Conflict Divorce in Arizona
- High Net Worth Divorce Arizona
- How is a Divorce Finalized in Arizona
- How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Arizona
- How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Arizona
- How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Arizona
- How Long Does Uncontested Divorce Take in Arizona
- How Long To Be Separated Before Divorce in Arizona
- How long to get Temporary Orders in Arizona
- How Much Does it Cost to Get a Divorce in Arizona
- How to Appeal a Divorce Decree in Arizona
- How To Find Good Divorce Attorney in Arizona
- How to Start a Divorce in Arizona
- Learn About Uncontested Divorce in Arizona
- Legally Separated File Divorce in Arizona
- Marital Settlement Agreement in Arizona
- The merger of the Settlement Agreement in Arizona
- Military Divorce Laws in Arizona
- Misled Into Signing Divorce Settlement in Arizona
- Modifying a Divorce Decree in Arizona
- No Contest Divorce in Arizona
- No-Fault Divorce in Arizona
- Order to Pay Spouses Attorney Fees in Arizona
- Parenting Class During a Divorce in Arizona
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona
- Protect Children in a Divorce in Arizona
- Quick Divorce in Arizona
- Reasons for Divorce in Arizona
- Reasons to File for Divorce in Arizona
- Represent Yourself in Arizona Divorce Case
- Same-Sex Divorce in Arizona
- Sealing Court Records in an Arizona Divorce
- Sell Home During Divorce in Arizona
- Selling Property During a Divorce in Arizona
- Served With Divorce Papers in Arizona
- Serving Divorce Papers by Publication in Arizona
- Should I Keep the House in a Divorce in Arizona
- Social Media Evidence in Divorce in Arizona
- Stop an Arizona Divorce
- Stop an Arizona Divorce if You Change Your Mind
- What Happens at a Resolution Management Conference in Arizona
- What Happens If the Divorce Case Goes to Trial in Arizona
- What Happens Temporary Orders Hearing in Arizona
- What is a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- What is a Default Divorce in Arizona
- What is a Family Law Master in an Arizona Divorce Case
- What is a Preliminary Injunction in an Arizona Divorce
- What is a Temporary Orders Hearing in Arizona
- What is the Divorce Process in Arizona
- What Reasons Do I Need to Obtain a Divorce in a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- What to do When Served with Divorce Papers in Arizona
- When Can I File For Divorce in Arizona
Chris Hildebrand wrote the information on this page about industrial commission and validity of superior court in regards to martial status in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.