Georgia Supreme Court to hear Cuthbert case

Mother of Cuthbert worker seeks death benefits

CUTHBERT — According to a statement released Wednesday by the Georgia supreme court, a woman whose adult son was killed while working for the City of Cuthbert is appealing a Randolph County court ruling that she is not entitled to her son’s death benefit, even though she is his only legal heir will have her case heard Monday by the Georgia Supreme Court.

The case will be heard in oral argument on Monday by supreme court justices.

Court officials say that in 2010, 37-year-0ld Deron Shorter was killed in a mower accident while working for the city of Cuthbert. Shorter’s mother and only heir, Louise Shorter Barzey, was denied her son’s death benefit through the Georgia Workers Compensation Act because she was not a financial dependant of her son.

Barzey sued the City of Cuthbert for the death benefit but the city filed a motion requesting a “summary judgment,” which, according to a news released from the court, a trial court judge may grant when it is determined that the facts of the case are undisputed and the law falls squarely on the side of one of the parties.

In October 2013, the judgment was granted in the City’s favor and the case in now appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court, officials say.

Barzey’s attorney, Robert White, argues that the trial court made several errors, including the granting of a summary judgment before he had an opportunity to file his brief opposing the motion, even though the deadline for doing so had not expired.

According to the statement, Franklin Coleman IV argues for dismissal of the appeal, saying White has failed to show how and where the statute violates the Constitution.Coleman represents the city of Cuthbert.

Coleman further claims that death benefits under worker’s compensation statues are intended to compensate beneficiaries for their injury, which is the loss of support resulting from the death of the deceased worker. Because Barzey was not dependant on her son, she suffered no harm from his death, Coleman contends.