MILLARD J. STRAND, Petitioner,
R & L CARRIERS SHARED SERVS., L.L.C., and HARTFORD ACCIDENT & INDEMNITY CO., admin’d by CCMSI, Respondents,
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.
Minnesota Workers Compensation
Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals
February 14, 2019
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.
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
to vacate GRANTED.
M. HALL, Judge.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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...