MATTHEW CARFI, Claimant,
BRAND ENERGY SERVICES, LLC, Employer,
ILLINOIS NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY,, insurance Carrier, Defendants.
Iowa Workers Compensation
Before the Iowa Workers’ Compensation Commissioner
January 21, 2021
Note Nos.: 1402.30, 1402.40, 1802, 1803, 2501, 2502, 2801,
2907, 4000, 5-9999
F. CHRISTENSON DEPUTY WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSIONER
OF THE CASE
Matthew Carfi, appealed from an arbitration decision filed on
July 19, 2019 and from a rehearing decision regarding
demeanor filed on August 7, 2020.
case was initially heard by Deputy Workers' Compensation
Commissioner Erica Fitch on May 15, 2018. Deputy Fitch was
taken off her regular deputy work, including hearings, to
work full time in the development and the implementation of
the paperless Workers' Compensation Electronic System
(WCES). Due to Deputy Fitch's unavailability, this case
was delegated to Deputy Workers' Compensation
Commissioner Stephanie Copley on July 9, 2019. Deputy Copley
issued the arbitration decision on July 19, 2019. She issued
a rehearing decision regarding demeanor on August 7, 2020.
detailed arguments of the parties have been considered and
the record of the evidence has been reviewed de novo. Upon
written delegation of authority by the Workers'
Compensation Commissioner under Iowa Code section 86.3,1
render this decision as a final agency decision on the behalf
of the Iowa Workers' Compensation Commission.
claimant have his case reheard?
claimant carry his burden of proof he sustained an injury on
October 25, 2016 that arose out of and in the course of
claimant carry his burden of proof he is entitled to
temporary disability benefits?
claimant carry his burden of proof he is entitled to
permanent partial disability benefits?
claimant carry his burden of proof there was a causal
connection between the alleged injury and the claimed medical
claimant carry his burden of proof that defendants are liable
for penalty under Iowa Code section 86.13?
was 42 years old at the time of hearing. Claimant graduated
from high school. Claimant attended some college. (Transcript
pages 6-7) Claimant has worked mostly as an industrial
painter. (Tr. p. 7)
worked for Brand Energy Services, LLC (Brand), as an
industrial painter from November 16, 2015 through January 13,
2016; March 7, 2016 through May 20, 2016; and from June 17,
2016 through October 25, 2016. (Exhibit E, p. 5)
job duties were generally to support ironworkers and
pipefitters. The physical demands of claimant's job are
found at Exhibit C. They include applying and removing
painting materials as part of a crew, loading and unloading
paint materials and carrying paint buckets. The job is
classified as a medium physical demand level position and
requires handling loads between 25 to 45 pounds. (Ex. C)
described the job as physically demanding and involved
climbing, bending, stooping, and using grinders and hand
sanders. (Tr. p. 16) Claimant testified he was required to
wear a harness as much of the painting was done off ground
level. Claimant also had to carry a bucket of tools. Claimant
testified the bucket of tools weighed approximately 10 to 15
pounds. (Tr. pp. 13, 57)
testified he began having difficulty walking during his shift
on July 19, 2016. He said two of his foreman saw him limping.
Claimant said they asked him about the limp. Claimant said he
told them "I don't know what is going on. I just
know it started hurting really bad." (Tr. pp. 26, 30)
Claimant was instructed to go to the emergency room. (Tr. p.
19, 2016, claimant was seen at Fort Madison Community
Hospital Emergency Room with complaints of left leg pain. He
indicated the pain began a month prior. Claimant was assessed
as having a hamstring strain. He was treated with
medications. (JE 1, pp. 1-3)
testified he returned to work the next day. He said his pain
worsened to the point his employer would not allow him to
return until he had gotten a doctor's release. (Tr. pp.
said he went to see a chiropractor to get a work release. On
August 3, 2016, claimant was evaluated at Wondra Chiropractic
for a chronic left thigh complaint of unknown origin since
June 30, 2016. Claimant was assessed as having lumbago with
sciatica on the right side. (JE2, pp. 7-9) Claimant testified
he obtained a work release from the chiropractor. (Tr. p. 32)
testified another foreman told him to see another doctor for
a work release. (Tr. p. 33) On August 9, 2016, claimant was
evaluated by Jeffrey Juhl, D.O. Claimant reported left leg
pain for one month. Claimant indicated he woke up with leg
pain one day. (JE3, p. 13) Claimant indicated that one year
prior, he fell 16 feet from a steel infrastructure onto a
car. Claimant said he did not have a long-term injury from
this fall. Claimant was given an epidural steroid injection
(ESI) on August 9, 2016 and August 29, 2016 by Dr. Juhl.
(JE3, pp. 13, 18)
returned to work and continued to work for Brand. He
testified that on October 25, 2016, he had a sudden increase
in pain and was unable to walk to a break room. Claimant said
he was terminated on October 25, 2016. (Tr. p. 36)
November 3, 2016, claimant was evaluated at Great River
Orthopedic Specialists. Claimant indicated back pain in
January that went into the left lower extremity. An MRI was
recommended. (JE5, pp. 23-25) Claimant underwent an MRI that
showed degenerative joint and disc disease of the lumbosacral
spine. (JE5, p. 26)
December 2, 2016, claimant was evaluated by Robert Foster,
M.D., an orthopedic surgeon. Claimant had ongoing left leg
and back pain for several months. Surgery was discussed and
chosen as a treatment option. (JE5, p. 27)
December 26, 2016, claimant had a lumbar laminectomy at the
L5-S1 levels. Surgery was performed by Dr. Foster...