Friday, February 25, 2011

Summary 2011 WY 34

Summary of Decision February 25, 2011

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

Case Name: McCall-Press v. State, ex rel. Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation Division

Citation: 2011 WY 34

Docket Number: S-10-0186


Appeal from the District Court of Sweetwater County, Honorable Jere A. Ryckman, Judge

Representing Appellant (Claimant): Sean W. Scoggin of McKellar, Tiedeken & Scoggin, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee (Repsondent): Bruce A. Salzburg, Wyoming Attorney General; John W. Renneisen, Deputy Attorney General; James Michael Causey, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Kelly Roseberry, Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: February 25, 2011

Facts: The appellant alleged an injury arising from exposure to a chemical cloud while driving in the course of her employment. The Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation Division (the Division) denied benefits to the appellant for her alleged injuries. The case was referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) for a contested case hearing, after which the OAH denied benefits.

Issues: Whether the appellant presented sufficient evidence to prove the causal connection between her injury and her employment.

Holdings: In order to prove that the injury arose out of and in the course of employment, a causal connection between the injury and the appellant’s employment must exist. A causal connection exists between the employee’s injury and the course of employment when there is a nexus between the injury and some condition, activity, environment or requirement of the employment. The employee-claimant has the burden to prove all of the statutory elements by a preponderance of the evidence. In the present action, OAH concluded that the medical professionals who evaluated the appellant were unable, without mere speculation, to opine that the appellant’s injury more probably than not arose out of her employment. The letters provided by the appellant’s business associates were insufficient to prove a causal connection between the appellant’s injury and her employment. Furthermore, the appellant’s story was incredible and uncorroborated, and the Division’s investigation produced no possible source of the alleged chemical cloud. Consequently, the OAH’s denial of benefits to the appellant is affirmed.

J. Voigt delivered the opinion for the court.

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