Friday, January 24, 2014

Summary 2014 WY 12

Summary of Decision January 24, 2014

Justice Davis delivered the opinion for the Court. Affirmed.


Docket Number: S-13-0108


Appeal from the District Court of Uinta County the Honorable Dennis L. Sanderson, Judge

Representing Appellant: Robert A. Nicholas, Nicholas Law Office, Cheyenne, Wyoming

Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney General; John D. Rossetti, Deputy Attorney General; Michael J. Finn, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Samantha Caselli, Assistant Attorney General

Date of Decision: January 24, 2014

Facts: A score of years ago, Appellant Shirlene Hathaway was attacked by a patient and suffered modest physical injuries while working at the Wyoming State Hospital. Four years later, she was denied permanent total disability (PTD) benefits because maximum medical improvement had not been reached. She continued seeking medical treatment and then reapplied for PTD benefits in 2009. The Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation Division (Division) denied her second claim, and the Medical Commission held a contested case hearing. Based upon the evidence presented, a panel of the Medical Commission denied the subsequent application for PTD benefits, determining that Appellant had not met her burden of proving entitlement to those benefits under the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Act or the odd lot doctrine. It found that Appellant’s only disabling condition was psychological and not related to any compensable physical injury, and that she was thus limited to six months of benefits, which she had already received. Appellant sought review of the Medical Commission’s decision, and the district court affirmed.

Issues: The overarching question in this appeal is whether the condition causing Appellant’s disability is purely psychological, and not entirely or at least in part physical. We therefore restate the controlling issue as follows: Is the Medical Commission’s determination that Appellant was not entitled to PTD benefits because her disabling condition is solely psychological and not related to any compensable physical injury supported by substantial evidence and consistent with applicable law?

Holdings/Conclusion: The Medical Commission reasonably concluded that Appellant did not establish entitlement to PTD benefits under the Wyoming Workers’ Compensation Act or the odd lot doctrine, and its conclusions are in accordance with applicable law. Affirmed.

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

[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. You will also note when you look at the opinion that all of the paragraphs are numbered. When you need to provide a pinpoint citation to a quote the universal portion of the citation will use that paragraph number. The pinpoint citation in the P.3d portion will need to have the reporter page number. If you need assistance in putting together a citation from this, or any future opinion using the Universal Citation form, please contact the Wyoming State Law Library and we will provide any needed assistance]

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