Trial Notebook: Definitions

Catastrophic "and" "or" 1995 Version

Definition of "and" instead of "or" in the 1990 filed amendment. Court of Appeals holds that the "or" issue as making the Statute 34-9-200.1(g)(6) allowing for only one of two events. In this situation, if the employee is unable to return to his prior employment when he meets the catastrophic designation. See Rite-Aid Corporation, et al. v. Davis, 280 Ga. App. 522, 634 S.E.2d 480 (2006).

Hernia

The Supreme Court defined "hernia" for purposes of the statute as "the protrusion of an internal organ or part projecting through an opening in the walls of the abdominal cavity." Liberty Mutual Ins. Co. v. Blackshear, 197, Ga. 334, 28 S.E.2d 86 (1944).

Insolvent Corporation

See O.C.G.A. § 14-2-1201 and Forest Managers Inc. v. Wilkes County, 152 Ga. App. 639, 263 S.E.2d 478 (1979).

Occupational Disease

See O.C.G.A. § 34-9-281(b)(1). See Putzel Electrical Contractors, Inc., et al. v. Jones, 282 Ga. App. 539, 639 S.E.2d 540 (2006).

Out of and In Course of Employment

A good definition of arising out of and in the course of employment under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-1(4) can be found in Barge v. City of College Park, 148 Ga. App. 480, 351 S.E.2d 580 (1978) and Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah v. Stevens, 271 Ga. App. 137, 608 S.E.2d 748 (2004).

Psychogenic

"Originating in the mind or in mental or emotional conflict." See Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/psychogenic. Definition cited in Hughston Orthopedic Hospital v. Wilson, 306 Ga. App. 893, 703 S.E.2d 17(2010).

Statutory Construction "and" "or"

In this case the Court of Appeals used excellent language interpreting the term "and" or "or".

"Where a statute is susceptible of one and only one construction, this Court can not adopt a different construction merely to relieve [the] parties of some real or imagined hardship; but if the law is valid, we can only apply it in the form in and to which it was finally adopted as a statute by the law making body." See State Revenue Commn. v. Nat. Biscuit Co., 179 Ga. 90, 175 SE 368 (1934).

"Where there is no ambiguity our job is simply to look at the words the legislator used, not to interpret what we think they must have meant." See Gordon v. Atlanta Casualty Co., 279 Ga. 148, 611 S.E.2d 24 (2005).

A court "should never by construction" add to, take from, or vary the meaning of unambiguous words in the statute." See Brooks v. Brooks, 185 Ga. 549, 195 SE 869 (1939).

Where there is no ambiguity, our job is simply to look at the words the legislator used, not to interpret what we think they must have meant. See Rite-Aid Corp., et al. v. Davis, 280 Ga. App. 522, 634 S.E.2d 480 (2006).

"Where words have a definite and well-settled meaning at common law, it is to be presumed, unless some good reason to the contrary appears, that this same meaning attaches to them when used in a statute." See Johnson v. Bradstreet Co., 87 Ga. 79, 13 S.E. 250 (1891). On the other hand, "where the letter of the statute results in absurdity or injustice or would lead to contradictions, the meaning of the general language may be restrained by the spirit of the reason of the statute." New Amsterdam Casualty. Co. v. Freeland, 216 Ga. 491, 117 S.E.2d 538 (1960).

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