Friday, May 17, 2013

Summary 2013 WY 62

Summary of Decision May 17, 2013

Justice Burke delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.


Docket Number: S-12-0220


Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County, the Honorable Peter G. Arnold, Judge

Representing Appellant: William G. Hibbler, Bill G. Hibbler, PC, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Attorney General; John D. Rossetti, Deputy Attorney General; Michael J. Finn, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Kelly Roseberry, Assistant Attorney General.

Date of Decision: May 17, 2013

Facts: The Wyoming Workers’ Safety Compensation Division awarded benefits to Appellant, Kirk Jacobs, after he experienced a workplace injury. Mr. Jacobs sought payment for prescription medication that he claimed was related to his workplace injury. The Division denied the claim. Mr. Jacobs requested a contested case hearing, and the Medical Commission upheld the Division’s determination. Mr. Jacobs appealed to the district court, which affirmed the Medical Commission’s order. Mr. Jacobs challenged the district court’s decision in this appeal.

Issues: Mr. Jacobs states the issues as follows:

1. Was the commission decision holding that Mr. Jacobs did not meet his burden of proof that he was entitled to continuation of medical benefits supported by substantial evidence?

2. Did the Division’s prior determination, assigning a 78% whole body permanent physical impairment rating, establish as a matter of law that Mr. Jacobs’ chronic abdominal pain was directly related to his initial compensable toe injury?

3. Did the commission properly apply the recognized second compensable injury burden of proof?

The Division phrases the issues as follows:

1. Did the Commission apply the proper burden of proof for a second compensable injury when it required Jacobs to establish a causal connection between his abdominal pain and his Keflex ingestion?

2. Did substantial evidence support the Commission’s determination?

Holdings: Mr. Jacobs was required to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that there was a direct causal relationship between his accident and his abdominal pain. The record revealed that the Commission correctly applied the requisite burden of proof. The Commission’s order correctly cites the applicable law regarding the burden of proof and demonstrates its understanding that the claimant had the burden of proving the elements of his claim by a preponderance of the evidence. The Commission concluded that Mr. Jacobs “failed to present sufficient credible evidence to establish that his current abdominal care and treatment causally related to the work-related injury.” Although the Commission did not directly state that Mr. Jacobs failed to prove the elements “by a preponderance of the evidence,” it is clear from the context of the Commission’s order that it applied the burden correctly. Accordingly, the Court found no error in the Commission’s application of Mr. Jacobs’ burden of proof. Affirmed.

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

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