There is no offense to the res judicata when there is only one interpretation of the judicial title in question. This was the understanding of the Third Panel of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) in judging Petrobras appeals that challenged the value to be paid to the disabled employee due to work accident.
In the sentence, Petrobras was ordered to indemnify the employee for total and permanent incapacity to perform her function, equivalent to the salary she received at the time of removal, until she was 65 years old. It was also ordered to pay $ 30,000 for moral damages. The Court of Justice of Sergipe (TJSE) confirmed the position of the first instance, however it reduced the value of the moral damages.
In the STJ, Petrobras contended that it was ordered to pay an amount equivalent to the salary received by the employee before being dismissed, and not to pay the total remuneration received by her. He claimed that there was a distinction between the terms salary and remuneration, and the company could not be required to pay the full amount of remuneration, composed of salary and additional, if the sentence expressly recorded the term salary, under penalty of judicial title and res judicata.
According to the rector of the appeal, Minister Villas Bôas Cueva, the STJ needed to define whether the term salary used in the sentence refers to the employee's basic salary or to the total remuneration received by her. In other words, if there is a possibility of interpreting judicial title more comprehensively, without offense to the res judicata.
According to him, the orientation of the STJ is in the sense of seeking the interpretation most appropriate to the judicial title, according to the criteria established in it. Accordingly, based on the grounds of the judgment, "it is understood that the term 'salary' refers to the totality of the economic perception of the defendant, who was totally and permanently incapacitated for work because of the proven negligence of the applicant company," he said.
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