Shores v. Mack Molding, Opinion No. 1-21WC (Jan. 21,2021)(ALJ DeBernardi) DOL finds Claimant’s treating physician’s a opinions more credible then those of IME doctor. “Relying primarily on the first and fifth Geiger factors…. As Claimant’s treating physician, Dr Giering is in the best position to understand Claimant’s past response to radio-frequency denervation and to determine the best treatment going forward. In addition, Dr Giering is a pain management specialist who has performed this procedure more than 5,000 times.”
Rainville v Boxer, Blake & Moore, PLLC Opinion No. 2-21WC (ALJ Brown)(Jan. 15, 2021)
Claimant loses compensability issue on summary judgment motion alleging that pizza eaten in the course of her employment resulted in gluten allergy reaction and a cascade of health issues thereafter. DOL found no connection between Claimant’s law practice and her pizza consumption. “While the time pressures of her workday certainly influenced Claimant’s choice about how to obtain her lunch, it was still her decision to choose pizza and to form an agreement with her coworker to place the order. Under these circumstances, the risk of gluten consumption was not incidental to the ‘conditions and obligations of [her] employment.’ As a matter of law, her wheat pizza consumption therefore did not ‘arise out of’ her employment.”
Gregorek v. Dynapower Corp., Opinion No. 3-21WC (ALJ Brown) (Jan. 28, 2021)
Defendant accepts hearing loss as being work related but disputes impairment rating. “While it is possible that some of Claimant’s hearing loss may have been caused by non-occupational noise exposure from gun use or from normal aging process, there is no evidence beyond the realm of speculation concerning the specific extent, if any, of those sources’ effects on his present aural capacity. Accordingly, there is no basis to conclude that any cause other than Claimant’s work resulted in his clinically documented hearing loss.” Claimant awarded 4% impairment based upon a 2018 hearing test.
Reis v Windham Northeast Supervisory Union, Opinion No.4-21WC (ALJ DeBernardi) (Feb. 16, 2021)
Claimant’s family nurse practitioner’s affidavit as to compensability of PTSD claim found insufficient to defeat Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment, as affidavit contains no description of the alleged “unspecified harassment” nor any “factual detail as to Claimant’s symptoms or the manifestation of his increased stress and anxiety. Further she did not address, or even refer to, any diagnostic criteria for his psychological condition. In short, [FNP’s] letter contains no facts, no hint of an inferential process, and no discussion of any hypotheses that she considered and rejected. She simply states that harassment occurred and that it exacerbated Claimant’s psychological condition.”
Vanesse v Springfield Printing Corp., Opinion No. 5-21WC (Mar. 9, 2021)(ALJ Brown)
Employee uses personal vehicle for business purposes. Slip and fall at dealership to fix flat tire is insufficiently connected to time, place and activity of work to render this a compensable injury as the business trip portion of the traveling employee exception tot he going and coming rule had not yet begun. In a footnote, however, the DOL warns that “This is not to say that an employee injured while obtaining automotive repairs close in time to a business trip can never establish that such injuries occurred within the course of his or her employment. Such inquiries are always fact-intensive and depend upon the multi factorial balancing of the circumstance specific to each case.
Konjuhovac v University of Vermont, Opinion No. 6-21WC (Mar. 16, 2021) (ALJ Brown)
Surgery performed by treating physician found reasonable over those opinions of equally qualified Defendant’s IME Doctor. “Two well qualified surgeons,… differed in their opinions about whether surgery was appropriate in a patient who presented a mixed medical picture with some normal diagnostic studies and some subject to conflicting interpretations. The existence of such an academic disagreement between experts does not render the surgery unreasonable.”
Parks v. Norwich University, Opinion No. 7-21WC (Mar. 23, 2021) (ALJ DeBernardi)
On cross motions for summary judgment, date of injury for determination of minimum compensation rate shall be date of disability.