CHARLESTON - The state Supreme Court of Appeals has ruled that a former worker at Alcan Rolled Products-Ravenswood can't seek Workers' Compensation benefits for hearing loss for the years the company has been in compliance with noise regulations.

John P. Pickens III appealed the decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Board of Review, which arose from the Board of Review's final order dated April 22, 2011, in which the Board affirmed a Dec. 10, 2010, order of the Workers' Compensation Office of Judges.

In its order, the Office of Judges affirmed the claims administrator's Oct. 13, 2009, decision, holding the claim compensable for hearing loss with a date of last exposure of March 16, 1997, according to a memorandum decision filed on March 14.

Pickens worked for Alcan in the casting department and claimed that he suffered hearing loss, according to the decision.

The Board of Review, the Office of Judges and the claims administrator held that the date of last exposure was March 16, 1997, even though Pickens continued to work for Alcan until Feb. 22, 2007.

Pickens argued that the date of last exposure should match his last date of employment because he was exposed to the noise until his employment ended, the opinion states.

However, Alcan claimed it has been in compliance with the OSHA regulations for excessive noise since March 17, 1997.

ThecCourt found that the decision of the Board of Review is not in clear violation of any constitutional or statutory provision, nor is it clearly the result of erroneous conclusions of law, nor is it based upon material misstatement or mischaracterization of the evidentiary record.

The decision was concurred in by justices Brent D. Benjamin, Robin J. David, Margaret L. Workman and Allen H. Loughry II. Justice Menis E. Ketchum was of a dissenting opinion.

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