In Illinois, Kim Parks of our St. Louis office successfully defended a claim for seizure disorder following an injury in which the petitioner was struck by a vehicle. The case was accepted as compensable and benefits were paid for a knee and back injury. Approximately ten months after the work injury the petitioner went to the emergency room with complaints of seizures. As the petitioner was a truck driver, the diagnosis of seizures would effectively render him unemployable. The respondent disputed medical causation between the seizure diagnosis and the work injury. Dr. Patrick Hogan was the respondent’s expert and the petitioner’s expert was the treating doctor, Dr. Shah. The respondent discovered the petitioner had suffered from similar issues in the past. Dr. Shah’s testimony regarding causation was not particularly strong. The arbitrator denied causation between the seizure disorder and the work accident and denied benefits. Although the petitioner’s attorney filed an appeal to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, the case was settled in conjunction with the back and knee while the appeal was pending. (John Germann vs. Maschoff Transportation, 13-WC-36135)
Also in Illinois, Kim Parks of our St. Louis office recently received a decision from Arbitrator Lee denying compensability in a case arising from a fall down the steps. The petitioner worked as an assistant for a law firm which was housed in a two story building not owned or controlled by the respondent. There were other tenants in the building, including some on the second floor. The building also had an elevator but the petitioner testified she had a phobia of elevators and the elevator was not always in the best working order. The petitioner fell down the steps and sustained a shoulder injury which required surgery. The claim was denied from the beginning and no benefits were tendered. The petitioner attempted to argue she was exposed to a greater risk than the general public due to the number of times she went up and down the steps during the course of her work day. Arbitrator Lee found the petitioner was not exposed more than the general public and the act of going up and down the steps was a risk common to everyone and therefore denied the claim. No appeal was taken by the petitioner’s attorney. (Rebecca L. Johnson vs. Paul Lauber, 14-WC-33376)
Attorney Karie Casey of our St. Louis office presented a disputed carpal tunnel case to Judge Tilley out of the Cape Girardeau office in Missouri for hearing and the decision was received on May 26, 2015. Briefly, the claimant worked for a temporary agency as a machine operator for a total of 5½ weeks. She was in training for the first four weeks of her 5½ week employment. The claimant also testified to working in her garden, as well as her parents’ garden in the summer following the alleged accident date of April 5, 2012. She testified her parents’ garden was approximately 60’x100’. The plaintiff’s expert was Dr. Bruce Schlafly and the employer and insurer’s expert was Dr. Richard Howard. Electrical studies were negative. Dr. Howard testified he could not render a diagnosis as he could find no objective evidence of an ongoing medical problem. The claimant did undergo right carpal tunnel release. Judge Tilley found Dr. Howard’s opinion regarding occupational disease and medical causation more persuasive than Dr. Schlafly’s opinions. She also found the employee did not meet her burden of proof with respect to the alleged occupational disease of right carpal tunnel arising out of and in the course of her employment with the employer. The claim was therefore denied. No appeal was taken by the claimant’s attorney. (Shirley Springman vs. Productive Staffing, 12-027542)
In a recent decision by the Honorable Pamela Fuller, MWC successfully defended a claim for benefits in the Kansas Division of Workers Compensation which resulted in a denial of all compensation. See Anab Hassan v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. (Docket No. 1,062,808). The claimant, a Somalian worker at the Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. beef packing plant in Finney County, demanded medical, temporary total disability and permanent partial general disability (work disability) benefits up to the statutory cap arising from a February 16, 2009 fall. Claimant alleged injury to her head, neck, back, bilateral shoulders and right leg, ankle and foot. Claimant received minimal medical treatment from the employer and, after a maternity leave, returned to work. Claimant subsequently terminated her employment, thus, exposing the Employer to the maximum statutory benefits for permanent partial general disability under Kansas law based on task loss and 100% wage loss.
Over three years later, claimant filed her claim for compensation arguing that payment of a medical bill for a December 3, 2012 date of service with payment on January 8, 2013 extended the statute of limitations. Although claimant argued that she repeatedly appeared at the plant medical office for treatment of her multiple injuries that all allegedly related back to her February 2009 incident, MWC attorneys successfully argued that claimant did not file her Application for Hearing within the relevant statute of limitations and that the service/payment relied on by claimant attached to a separate reported injury for which the statute had also expired. Through the teamwork of Thomas Munsell, member of the firm, who appeared at the hearing and cross-examined the fact witnesses, Randall Schroer, member of the firm, who handled the expert depositions and wrote the brief accompanying the submission letter, and Jackie Rieder, paralegal, who provided invaluable support to the attorneys involved, MWC successfully demonstrated that claimant’s alleged injury was untimely resulting in a denial of all benefits.
Click here to read the Court’s Memorandum Opinion in Anab Hassan v. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.
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We are pleased to announce the additions of Karie E. Casey and Kim M. Parks who have recently joined our St. Louis office. Ms. Casey and Ms. Parks are very experienced litigators with over 20 years of experience representing clients in the St. Louis metropolitan and surrounding areas. If you have any questions regarding your legal needs in southern Illinois or eastern Missouri, please do not hesitate to contact any of the lawyers in our St. Louis office.