DEBORAH D. GUNTER, EMPLOYEE CLAIMANT
BILLS SUPER FOODS, INC., EMPLOYER RESPONDENT
UNION STANDARD INSURANCE COMPANY, INSURANCE CARRIER RESPONDENT
Arkansas Workers Compensation
Before the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission
December 7, 2016
before Administrative Law Judge James D. Kennedy on the
26th day of October, 2016, in Russellville, Pope
Claimant was represented by Mr. William C. Frye, Attorney at
Law, North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Respondents were represented by Mr. Jarrod S. Parrish,
Attorney at Law, Little Rock, Arkansas.
D. KENNEDY, Administrative Law Judge.
OF THE CASE
hearing was conducted on the 26th day of October,
2016, to determine the issue of did the claimant suffer a
work related compensable injury and is she entitled to
additional medical, as prescribed by Doctor Bruffett. The
respondents are controverting the matter in its entirety.
After a discussion at the start of the hearing in regard to
the issue of temporary total disability, it was agreed by the
attorneys that if temporary total disability was in fact
awarded, the respondents would take a credit against whatever
was awarded, and that respondents would provide a date
certain to the counsel for the claimant as to the dates of
temporary total disability payment.
pre-hearing conference was conducted in this matter on
September 7, 2016, and a Pre-hearing Order was filed in this
matter on said date. A copy of the Pre-hearing Order was
marked “Commissions Exhibit 1" and made a part of
the record without objection. It was stipulated that the
Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission has
jurisdiction of the claim and that an employer/employee
relationship existed on January 20, 2015, the date of the
injury. It was further stipulated that the claimant earned
sufficient wages for a temporary total disability rate of
$194.00 and a permanent partial disability rate of $154.00
per week. The claimant contends that she suffered a work
related injury and that she is entitled to additional medical
as prescribed by Dr. Bruffett. The respondents controverted
the matter in its entirety. Additionally, as per the
discussion at the start of the hearing, if the claimant is
awarded temporary total disability, the respondent shall be
entitled to a credit for any temporary total disability that
has already been paid. Two witnesses testified in this
matter, the claimant, Deborah Diane Gunter, and the
claimant’s supervisor, Douglas Heise. From a review of
the record as a whole, to include medical reports and other
matters properly before the Commission, and having had an
opportunity to hear the testimony of the witnesses and to
observe their demeanor, the following findings of fact and
conclusions of law are made in accordance with Ark. Code Ann.
OF FACT AND CONCUSSIONS OF LAW
Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission has
jurisdiction over this claim.
stipulations agreed to by the parties are hereby accepted as
claimant has failed to satisfy the burden of proof to prove
by a preponderance of the evidence that she is entitled to
additional medical treatment, and consequently additional
temporary total disability.
they have not already done so, the respondents are directed
to pay the court reporter fees and expenses within thirty
(30) days of receipt of the bill.
OF TESTIMONY AND EVIDENCE
first witness called was the claimant, Deborah Diane Gunter,
who was born on October 27, 1970, and who finished the
twelfth grade in high school. Claimant had previously worked
as a cook in a restaurant, performed patient administration,
worked as a dispatcher for Faulkner County and also as a
teacher in daycare, before going to work for Bill’s.
(Tr. 7) Claimant started out working in the deli at
Bill’s, cooking, cleaning, and serving customers and
worked there a little over a year-and-a-half. Claimant stated
that her next job was cashier, where she would check people
out and get stuff out of the buggies. (Tr. 8) Claimant
admitted that she had disc surgery back in 2005 and was not
sure what had caused her problems back then, but she had a
lot of pain through her neck and shoulders and the medical
records show that it was in her right arm and shoulder. (Tr.
9, 10) In February of 2010, claimant presented to Doctor Vice
in regard to arthritis in her neck and the claimant went back
to see him in January of 2014. She was prescribed Gabapentin
and Nucynta and the claimant thought that it was prescribed
one time. Later, in January of 2014, claimant had some neck
problems. She did not have any tingling in her arms at the
time but did testify that she did have hurting muscles. The
claimant could not remember Doctor Vice recommending
treatment at that time. (Tr. 11, 12)
January 20, 2015, “I was checking someone out, and they
had put that big - - the bag up under the buggy on the
bottom, and I - - when I pick it up, I thought that I felt a
muscle pull.” “It was just a sudden pull. It was
like a - - just -- I woke up the next morning stiff, so I
figured it was a pulled muscle.” The bag was later
referred to as a dog food bag. Claimant admitted that she did
not say anything to her supervisor and continued to work.
Claimant also testified that she started having tingling and
hurting in her left arm. (Tr. 14) She also suffered from a
constant tingling in her three middle fingers.
“There’s a constant tingling in them like
they’re numb.” (Tr. 15) Claimant stated that she
continued to work but that her condition worsened and that
she went to see Doctor Vice on or about February 9, 2015.
Prior to going to see Doctor Vice, the claimant testified
that she told her supervisor that she thought that she pulled
a muscle while picking up the dog food off of the bottom of
the buggy. Claimant also stated that she came back and
visited with her supervisor and she had to fill out a form
for an MRI. (Tr. 16) Claimant testified that...