IN THE MATTER OF THE CLAIM OF: VESNA RISTIC, Claimant,
OASIS OUTSOURCING INC d/b/a ELKCO, Employer,
AMERICAN ZURICH INSURANCE COMPANY ESIS, Insurer, Respondents.
W.C. No. 5-085-791-002
Colorado Workers Compensation
Industrial Claim Appeals Office
March 20, 2020
OFFICE OF OTOOLE & SBARBARO PC, Attn: JOHN A SBARBARO
ESQ, (For Claimant)
POLLART MILLER LLC, Attn: CHRISTIN BECHMANN ESQ, (For
respondents seek review of an order of Administrative Law
Judge Felter (ALJ) dated September 23, 2019, that determined
the claimant was permanently and totally disabled We affirm
the ALJ’s order.
matter went to hearing on the issues of permanent partial
disability, conversion to a whole person rating, and
permanent total disability benefits. After hearing the ALJ
entered factual findings that for purposes of review can be
summarized as follows. The claimant is 61 years old, comes
from Serbia and has limited English language skills. The
claimant obtained a high school degree in Serbia. Since
arriving the in the United States 20 years ago, the claimant
has performed two jobs, a trimmer of clothing and a
August 13, 2018, while working as a cleaner, the claimant
sustained an admitted injury to her right shoulder and low
back when she took the garbage out to a dumpster. While
placing the garbage in the dumpster the claimant experienced
immediate pain in her right shoulder and low back.
claimant underwent care with Dr. Yancey and Dr. Primack at
Concentra and was eventually placed at maximum medical
improvement (MMI) on February 12, 2019, and given a 15
percent upper extremity rating. The claimant was also given
permanent working restrictions of lifting up to 10 pounds
frequently, 25 pounds occasionally and no repetitive overhead
lifting with the right arm. The respondents filed a final
admission of liability admitting for the impairment rating.
The claimant timely filed an application for hearing seeking
a whole person rating and permanent total disability
respondents’ request, the claimant underwent an IME
with Dr. Mitchell. In Dr. Mitchell’s opinion, the
claimant did not have any permanent impairment or permanent
work restrictions as a result of the work injury. Instead,
the claimant had a right shoulder strain and somatoform
disorder and any work restrictions were due to her
degenerative condition. The ALJ rejected Dr. Mitchell’s
opinion and found the opinions and work restrictions of Dr.
Yancey and Dr. Primack to be more credible and persuasive.
claimant also underwent a vocational evaluation with Katie
Montoya at the respondents’ request. Ms. Montoya
testified, consistent with her report, that in her opinion
there was work available in the claimant’s commutable
job market. The ALJ rejected Ms. Montoya’s opinion in
favor of the more persuasive opinion...