Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Rasmussen

PETITIONER: Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs
RESPONDENT: Rasmussen
LOCATION: Nebraska Board of Parole

DOCKET NO.: 77-1465
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

CITATION: 440 US 29 (1979)
ARGUED: Nov 28, 1978
DECIDED: Feb 21, 1979

ADVOCATES:
Albert H. Sennett - for petitioners in No. 77-1491
James Buckley Ostmann - for respondents in both cases
Kent L. Jones - for petitioner in No. 77-1465, pro hac vice, by special leave of Court

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Rasmussen

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 28, 1978 in Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Rasmussen

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - February 21, 1979 in Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. Rasmussen

Warren E. Burger:

The judgments and opinion of the Court in Number 1465 and 1491, Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation against Rasmussen will be announced by Mr. Justice Rehnquist.

William H. Rehnquist:

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.

With all respect, Mr. William Rasmussen was fatally injured during the course of his employment in South Vietnam when the vehicle in which he was driving was blown up by a land mine.

His employment was covered by the provisions of the Longshoremen and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act and his surviving widow and son, the respondents here, claimed death benefits of $532 a week under Section 909 of the Act.

Rasmussen's employer, its insurance carrier, and the Director of the Department of Labors Office of Workers’ Compensation programs, petitioners here contended the death benefits payable to the respondent were limited to $167 a week under another section of the Act.

The administrative law judge and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit disagreed with the petitioner's contention holding that the death benefits payable under the Act are not subject to the maximum limitations placed on disability payments by this other section of the Act.

Today we affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeals because of the complex nature of the question, our decision does not lend itself to detailed explanation from the bench, suffice it to say, they were convinced by the plain language of the provisions in the Act and by the legislative history that Congresses omission of a maximum limitation on death benefits payable under the Act was intentional.

Mr. Justice Powell took no part in the consideration or decision of these consolidated cases.

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Justice Rehnquist uses --

Thank you, Mr. Justice Rehnquist.

He uses the Wisconsin pronunciation of Rasmussen.

I used the Minnesota version.