Strand v. R & L Carriers Shared Servs., L.L.C., 021419 MNWC, WC18-6202

Docket Nº:WC18-6202
Case Date:February 14, 2019
Court:Minnesota
 
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MILLARD J. STRAND, Petitioner,
v.
R & L CARRIERS SHARED SERVS., L.L.C., and HARTFORD ACCIDENT & INDEMNITY CO., admin’d by CCMSI, Respondents,
and
INJURED WORKERS’ PHARMACY, INJURY PHYSICIANS OF MINN., PARK NICOLLET METHODIST HOSP., STAND UP MID AM. MRI, UNUM LIFE INS. CO., TRIA ORTHOPEDICS CTR., PARK NICOLLET HEALTH SERVS., SPINE CARE, P.A., MIDWEST SPINE & BRAIN INST., and CTR. FOR DIAGNOSTIC IMAGING, Intervenors.
No. WC18-6202
Minnesota Workers Compensation
Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals
February 14, 2019
         VACATION OF AWARD - SUBSTANTIAL CHANGE IN CONDITION. The employee has shown a substantial change in medical condition that was not reasonably anticipated at the time of settlement.           Steven P. Christensen, Steven P. Christensen, L.L.C., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the Appellant.           Richard W. Schmidt, Cousineau Waldhauser, Mendota Heights, Minnesota, for the Respondents.           Determined by: Gary M. Hall, Judge, Deborah K. Sundquist, Judge, Sean M. Quinn, Judge           Compensation Judge: William Marshall          Petition to vacate GRANTED.           OPINION           GARY M. HALL, Judge.          The employee has shown a substantial change in medical condition that was not anticipated at the time of settlement. We grant the petition to vacate the November 17, 2016, Partial Award on Stipulation.          BACKGROUND          On September 16, 2015, Millard J. Strand, the employee, was injured in a fall from a truck while working as a delivery driver for R & L Carriers Shared Services, L.L.C., the employer, which was insured for workers’ compensation liability by Hartford Accident & Indemnity Company, with claims administered by CCMSI. Primary liability was initially accepted and various workers’ compensation benefits were paid. The employee has a history of diabetes, severe obstructive sleep apnea, neuropathy, hypertension, obesity, and coronary artery disease.          On the day of the injury, the employee was treated at an emergency department. Lumbar and thoracic spine x-rays indicated extensive ankylosis but no fracture or malalignment was identified. The employee was treated with medication and discharged that day. The employee was off work for five days, then returned to light-duty work. The employee treated with Dr. Peter Frederixon on October 8, 2015, and was continued on light-duty status. The employee underwent physical therapy from October through December 2015. Additional thoracic spine x-rays were taken on November 30, 2015, and indicated moderate thoracic spine kyphosis1 with moderate compression along the superior endplate of T11. Dr. Frederixon found the employee to be at maximum medical improvement (MMI) and released the employee for full-duty work without restrictions on December 21, 2015.          The employee was seen at his regular clinic in January 2016 for low back pain and was referred to the physical medicine and rehabilitation department. In March 2016, Dr. David Kurtti, noted that physical therapy had helped the employee’s low back pain, but not his thoracic pain, and recommended a thoracic MRI scan. The employee was also evaluated on March 16, 2016, by Dr. Donald Asmussen at TRIA Orthopaedics, who diagnosed the employee with ankylosing spondylitis2 of the thoracic and lumbar spine. Dr. Asmussen limited the hours the employee could work per shift and referred him for additional physical therapy. He completed a work ability report dated March 16, 2016, listing the employee’s diagnosis as spondylitis. The employee continued to have low back pain and received chiropractic treatment with Dr. Jeffrey Schramm beginning in March 2016. Dr. Schramm also recommended a thoracic spine MRI scan.          On March 29, 2016, the employer and insurer filed a denial of primary liability, asserting that MMI had been reached on December 21, 2015, and that the employee’s March 16, 2016, work ability report listed “a diagnosis of spondylolisthesis which is not a work-related diagnosis.” (Ex. A. The report, which is part of Ex. R, indicates that the employee’s diagnosis was spondylitis, not spondylolisthesis.)          Dr. Schramm referred the employee to Mark Stock, NP-C, at the Injury Physicians of Minnesota for evaluation in April 2016. The employee reported significant pain and was prescribed medication. A thoracic spine MRI scan was performed on April 12, 2016, and indicated a subacute compression fracture deformity with anterior wedge at T11 and severe kyphosis.          In April 2016, the employee filed a claim petition for injuries to the low and mid back and rib cage, and radicular pain in both legs. The employer and insurer claimed the...

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