Gunter, 120716 ARWC, G501442

Docket Nº:G501442
Case Date:December 07, 2016
No. G501442
Arkansas Workers Compensation
Before the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission
December 7, 2016
         Hearing before Administrative Law Judge James D. Kennedy on the 26th day of October, 2016, in Russellville, Pope County, Arkansas.           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.           JAMES D. KENNEDY, Administrative Law Judge.          STATEMENT OF THE CASE          A 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.          A 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. §11-9-704.          FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCUSSIONS OF LAW          1. The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission has jurisdiction over this claim.          2. The stipulations agreed to by the parties are hereby accepted as fact.          3. The 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.          4. If 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.          REVIEW OF TESTIMONY AND EVIDENCE          The 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)          Around 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...

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