The trial court decided that a nursing-home employee was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. The court’s order “did not contain detailed findings of fact and conclusions of law,” as required by Ala. Code § 25-5-88. This “sparse” order prevented appellate review. The Court of Civil Appeals denied the employer’s mandamus petition and ordered the trial court to enter an order complying with § 25-5-88. El Reposo Nursing Home Group, Inc., No. 2100113 (Ala. Civ. App. Mar. 25, 2011).
The Court of Civil Appeals treated a mandamus petition as an appeal from a “final judgment” in this workers’ compensation suit. The court recognized that this “emerging” practice of treating certain workers’ compensation decisions as final and appealable is “in tension” with some existing precedent. Ultimately, the appellate court reversed the lower court for failing to include findings of fact and conclusions of law in its decision. Belcher-Robinson Foundry, LLC v. Narr, No. 2080928 (Ala. Civ. App. Jan. 29, 2010).
The trial court entered a decision ruling that the plaintiff employee had been injured on the job, that he was temporarily totally disabled, and that his employer was consequently responsible for medical payments under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act. Within the time allowed for filing an appeal, the employer challenged this decision by petitioning the Court of Civil Appeals for a writ of mandamus.