KOOL SMILES/NCDR, LLC et al.
MILLER, P. J., DOYLE and REESE, JJ.
to the grant of a discretionary appeal under OCGA §
5-6-35 (a) (1), employer Kool Smiles/NCDR, LLC, appeals the
judgment of the superior court reversing in part the award of
the State Board of Workers' Compensation ("the
Board") to Hansel Gonzalez. Kool Smiles contends the
superior court's judgment is a nullity because the award
of the full Board was affirmed by operation of law when the
judgment was not entered within 20 days of the hearing as
required by OCGA § 34-9-105 (b). For the reasons that
follow, we vacate the superior court's
2005, Gonzalez sustained an on-the-job injury for which he
was awarded temporary total disability benefits due to the
classification of the injury as catastrophic. In 2015, the
parties requested a hearing before a State Board of
Workers' Compensation Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ") to address a change of physician
authorization requested by Kool Smiles and requests by
Gonzalez for additional treatments and for attorney fees
against Kool Smiles for their unreasonable defense of denial
of the treatments and request for change of physician. On
October 18, 2015, the ALJ denied Kool Smiles's request
for the change of physician, granted Gonzalez's requests
for additional treatments, and awarded attorney fees to
Gonzalez based on Kool Smiles's unreasonable defense.
Smiles appealed the order to the Board, and after a hearing,
the Board issued an order on March 4, 2016, upholding the ALJ
as to the issues of the physician change and the additional
treatments, but reversing the ALJ as to the issue of attorney
fees. Gonzalez filed a timely notice of appeal from the
Board's order in the Superior Court of Gwinnett County
pursuant to OCGA § 34-9-105 (b). On August 1, 2016, the
superior court conducted a judicial review hearing. The court
did not enter its order reversing the Final Decision until
August 31, 2016. Kool Smiles filed an application for
discretionary appeal on September 20, 2016, which application
was granted by this Court in an order entered on October 12,
2016. Thereafter, Kool Smiles filed a timely notice of
Under OCGA § 34-9-105 (b), the superior court order
disposing of a workers' compensation appeal must be
"entered" within 20 days of the hearing on the
appeal or the award of the Board will be affirmed by
operation of law. Here, because the superior court failed to
satisfy that time limit, its order is a
nullity. As this Court has explained "the
language of the statute is clear and this [C]ourt is without
power to avoid the ill-effect created by the statute as
written." Accordingly, we are constrained to hold
that the superior court lost jurisdiction of the case on
August 20, 2016, and its subsequent order was therefore a
Based on the holding of Division 1, Kool Smiles's other
enumerations of error are moot.
judgment of the superior court is hereby vacated because the
decision of the full Board was affirmed by operation of
Miller, P. J., and Reese, J., concur.
 See Coronet Carpets v.
Reynolds, 199 Ga.App. 383, 383-384 (405 S.E.2d
103)(1991) (dismissing appeal).
 See, e.g., Buschel v. Kysor,
213 Ga.App. 91, 93 (1) (444 S.E.2d 105) (1994); Coronet
Carpets, 199 Ga.App. at 383-384. Cf. Synthetic
Indus. v. Camp, 196 Ga.App. 637 (396 S.E.2d 518) (1990)
(holding that the superior court lost jurisdiction of the
case when it failed to hold a hearing on the ...