LAURA DEMARANVILLE, SURVIVING SPOUSE OF DANIEL DEMARANVILLE (DECEASED), Appellant/Cross-Respondent,
EMPLOYERS INSURANCE COMPANY OF NEVADA; AND CANNON COCHRAN MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC., Respondents, and CITY OF RENO, Respondent/Cross-Appellant.
and cross-appeal from a district court order granting in part
and denying in part a petition for judicial review in a
workers' compensation matter. First Judicial District
Court, Carson City; James E. Wilson, Judge.
B. Beavers, Nevada Attorney for Injured Workers, Samantha
Peiffer, Deputy Nevada Attorney for Injured Workers, Carson
City, for Appellant/Cross-Respondent.
Law Ltd. and Mark S. Sertic, Reno, for Respondent Employers
Insurance Company of Nevada.
McDonald Carano LLP and Timothy E. Rowe and Chelsea Latino,
Reno, for Respondent Cannon Cochran Management Services,
Inc., and Respondent/Cross-Appellant City of Reno.
HARDESTY, STIGLICH and SILVER, JJ.
appeal and cross-appeal concern a claim for workers'
compensation death benefits. Laura DeMaranville sought
benefits after her husband Daniel DeMaranville died as a
result of heart disease. After Daniel's former employer,
the City of Reno, and its former insurer, Employers Insurance
Company of Nevada (EICON), denied benefits, an appeals
officer reversed, finding that Daniel's death was caused
by compensable occupational heart disease, that the City of
Reno was liable as the self insurer, and that the amount of
the claim was based on Daniel's income from his private
employer at the time of death. The district court affirmed
the appeals officer's decisions as to compensability and
liability, and reversed as to the award amount, concluding
that the award should be based on Daniel's wages from the
City on the date of disablement (death), which were zero.
EICON insured the City when Daniel was last exposed to the
risk that was causally connected to his occupational disease,
EICON was liable under the last injurious exposure rule. We
therefore reverse the liability determination, as the last
injurious exposure rule determines the liable insurer for an
occupational disease claim that arose out of and in the
course of employment, even if the employee no longer works
for that employer. We also reverse the award amount
determination because for a death benefit claim for an
occupational disease arising out of and in the course of
employment under the statutory scheme as it applied to
Daniel's claim, the monthly compensation amount should be
based on the deceased employee's earnings in the
employment causally connected to the occupational disease
underpinning the claim. Thus, death benefits should have been
based on Daniel's wages at the time he last worked for
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
worked for the City as a police officer from 1969 to 1990. He
retired from that position and began working as a security
officer for a private company. EICON insured the City's
workers' compensation and occupational disease claims
through 2002, when the City began to self-insure. On August
5, 2012, Daniel died from cardiac arrest shortly after a
laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal surgery).
filed a claim for compensation for occupational disease with
the City. The City denied the claim, finding that the
evidence did not show that heart disease caused Daniel's
death. Laura appealed, and the parties agreed to forego a
hearing before the hearing officer in favor of proceeding
directly to an appeals officer. Cf. NRS 6I6C.3I5(7).
After being informed that EICON was the appropriate insurer,
Laura separately filed a claim with EICON, which also denied
the claim on the basis that the evidence did not establish
that Daniel died from heart disease. Laura appealed
EICON'S determination to a hearing officer, who reversed
EICON'S denial and held EICON liable. EICON appealed the
hearing officer's decision. The City also appealed
EICON'S claim denial.
consolidating the three appeals, the appeals officer
considered several medical opinions and found that Daniel had
heart disease that caused his death and that his heart
disease was compensable as an occupational disease under NRS
617.457. The appeals officer concluded that the date of
disablement was August 5, 2012-the date of Daniel's
death-and that the City was liable for the claim because it
was a self-insured employer on the date of disablement.
Holding that the City was liable, the appeals officer
reversed the hearing officer's decision that EICON was
liable for the claim, reversed the City's determination
letter denying the claim, and affirmed EICON'S
determination letter denying the | claim.
City petitioned for judicial review of the appeals
officer's decision. As that petition was pending and to
comply with the appeals officer's decision, the City
issued a determination that based the monthly amount for
Daniel's death benefits on Daniel's wages in 1990
when he last worked for the City. Laura appealed this
determination, seeking compensation based on the amount of
Daniel's earnings from his private employer at the time
of his death in 2012. A hearing officer affirmed the
City's determination, and Laura appealed again. The
appeals officer reversed the hearing officer's decision
and concluded that the monthly benefit should be based on
Daniel's wages as of the date of disablement. The City
and EICON each petitioned for judicial review of the decision
that the monthly benefit should be based on Daniel's 2012
wages from his private employer.
consolidating these petitions for judicial review, the
district court entered an order granting the petitions in
part and denying them in part. The district court affirmed
the finding that Daniel died from heart disease, a
compensable occupational disease; affirmed the conclusion
that the City was the liable insurer based on the date of
disablement, ruling that the last injurious exposure rule did
not apply; and reversed the conclusion that the monthly
benefit was based on Daniel's 2012 wages from his private
employer, ruling that the monthly benefit was based on