Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Summary 2008 WY 99

Summary of Decision issued August 19, 2008

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court.

Case Name: Nagle v. State, ex rel. Wyoming Workers' Safety and Compensation Division

Citation: 2008 WY 99

Docket Number: S-07-0222

Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County, the Honorable Michael N. Deegan, Judge.

Representing Appellant: Sean W. Scoggin of Tiedeken & Scoggin, PC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Bruce A. Salzburg, Wyoming Attorney General; John W. Renneisen, Deputy Attorney General; Steven R. Czoschke, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Kristi M. Radosevich, Senior Assistant Attorney General.

Facts/Discussion: In 1987, Nagle suffered an open fracture, dislocation and crush injury to the first, second and fourth metatarsals of his left foot. Since then, he has continued to experience worsening medical complications, which he claims can be traced to that injury.
Permanent Total Disability under the Odd Lot Doctrine:
The Court stated it would apply their recently revised standard of review. The Court also noted its opinion in Cardin v. Morrison-Knudsen where they adopted a definition of the “odd-lot doctrine” as providing permanent total disability to those workers who, while not altogether incapacitated for work, are so handicapped that they will not be employed regularly in any well known branch of the labor market. Nagle’s two claims, one for permanent disability and a second for benefits associated with his second compensable injury were referred to the Medical Commission. The Commission did not look at the case under the strictures of the odd lot doctrine but rather took a narrow view of what constitutes “permanent total disability” and disregarded Nagle’s evidence and the burden of proof that largely fell to the Division and the employer. The record irrefutably established that the degree of Nagle’s obvious impairment, coupled with his mental capacity, education, training, and age, clearly placed him prima facie in the odd lot category. The burden shifted to the Division to present evidence that some special work of a light or sedentary nature was actually available to him. The Court concluded that when all the evidence was considered in context, the only sustainable conclusion was that Nagle was permanently disabled from doing work at any gainful occupation for which he was reasonably suited by experience and training.
Nagle’s Fall Injuries and the Second Compensable Injury Rule:
The Court stated that the standard of review to be applied here was well summarized in Alvarez v. State. With respect to the injuries Nagle suffered in his stumble and fall, Nagle’s report was plausible in every respect. There was no basis for disbelieving his testimony. There was likewise no factual circumstance contained in the record that would disallow application of the second compensable injury rule.

Holding: The order of the district court affirming the Medical Commission was reversed and remanded to the district court with directions that it further remand the case to the Medical Commission with directions that it award permanent total disability benefits to Nagle. In addition, it shall direct the Medical Commission to order that Nagle be paid benefits for the injuries he suffered to his wrist and hip when he fell because of his gait/walking instability associated with his original injuries.

Reversed and remanded.

J. Hill delivered the decision.

Link: http://tinyurl.com/6hvzxe .

[SPECIAL NOTE: This opinion uses the "Universal Citation." It was given an "official" citation when it was issued. You should use this citation whenever you cite the opinion, with a P.3d parallel citation. Please note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you pinpoint cite to a quote, you should cite to this paragraph number rather than to any page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library.]

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