The wheels of justice are grinding slowly for Jack Turley.
So slowly that Turley has contacted the Utah congressional delegation, Gov. Norm Bangerter, the State Industrial Commission and the Deseret News for help."It's a very frustrating experience," said Turley, who was injured Sept. 15, 1989, in California working for a Utah-based company and hasn't collected a dime of workers' compensation benefits.
He has been declared temporarily totally disabled and in need of an operation to correct his back and groin injuries, but without $22,000 up front, any surgery is out of the question. How can the 25-year-old Turley come up with $22,000 since he sold all of his possessions while living in California to support himself and now lives with his father in Salt Lake City?
Turley's situation is an isolated case, according to State Industrial Commission employees, who say the majority of workers' compensation cases are handled quietly and efficiently. That is little consolation to Turley who doesn't want to sponge off his father and wants an operation so he can get back to work.
Turley considered himself a California resident at the time of the injury while working for Kimtro Construction Services Inc., 2444 High Mountain Drive, Sandy. He was helping build a chapel for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Canyon Country, Calif., when he was injured.
The main issue in this complicated case is residency. If Turley, who grew up in Utah, would agree that he was hired as a Utah resident, the Worker's Compensation Fund of Utah, Kimtro's insurance company, would probably pay the workmen's compensation benefits, according to Robert Babcock, Kimtro's attorney.
Kimtro has extraterritorial coverage for its Utah employees sent out of town to work. But since Turley maintains he was a California resident because he had a California driver's license and lived in some apartments, the case gets complicated.
If it is finally determined that Turley was a California resident at the time of his injury, Kimtro might be required to pay benefits directly to Turley rather than the Worker's Compensation Fund of Utah picking up the tab.
Turley took his case to the worker's compensation system in California. Sheldon St. Clair, a workers' compensation judge, ruled earlier this year that Turley was a California resident and awarded him $336 per week and $5,000 in attorney's fees.
Kimtro appealed the decision to the California Worker's Compensation Appeals Board, and on March 11, the request for reconsideration was denied.
Babcock said he recently sent a 25-page document to the appeals board asking the members to reconsider the findings, award and order in light of alleged new evidence. He says Turley was hired by Turley's half-brother, Frank Welch, in Salt Lake City on July 17, 1988. Welch worked for Kimtro.
Shortly after Turley was injured, he said company officials offered him $3,000 to settle his complaint and was told that if he didn't take the money the company would keep the matter tied up in the courts for years. He resents the company's attitude because he has sold most of his possessions to pay his bills.
Several people interviewed in connection with Turley's case said they expect the case to languish for many more months.