In re Compensation of. Brodowsky, 052021 ORWC, 18-03580

Docket NºWCB 18-03580; 18-05719; 19-00508
Case DateMay 20, 2021
73 Van Natta 444 (2021)
In the Matter of the Compensation of JULIUS G. BRODOWSKY, Claimant
WCB Nos. 18-03580; 18-05719; 19-00508
Oregon Worker Compensation
May 20, 2021
          Guinn Law Team, Claimant Attorneys           MacColl Busch Sato PC, Defense Attorneys           Reviewing Panel: Members Curey and Ousey.          ORDER ON REVIEW          The employer requests review of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mills’s order that set aside its denial of claimant’s new/omitted medical condition claim for right knee arthritis. On review, the issue is compensability. We reverse.          FINDINGS OF FACT          We adopt the ALJ’s “Findings of Fact” with the following summary and supplementation.          In 1994, prior to his work injury, claimant obtained a right knee x-ray which displayed mild suprapatellar effusion. (Ex. 2).          In 2003, claimant sought treatment for his right knee after a work injury. (Ex. 5-1). X-rays displayed minimal narrowing of the medial compartment of the right knee which had developed since his 1994 right knee x-ray. (Ex. 6). Claimant was diagnosed with medial joint strain. (Ex. 5-2). An MRI was positive for a small joint effusion. (Ex. 7). In August 2003, claimant’s right knee condition was found to have resolved. (Ex. 8).          On December 7, 2017, claimant sought treatment for a work-related knee injury. (Ex. 9). He was diagnosed with a right knee contusion, for which he filed a claim. (Exs. 9-1, 10).          On December 18, 2017, a right knee x-ray was performed, which showed moderate degenerative changes without an acute fracture or dislocation. (Ex. 12).          On December 27, 2017, the employer accepted claimant’s claim for a disabling right knee contusion. (Ex. 20-1).          On December 29, 2017, a right knee MRI displayed a horizontal tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus, moderate degenerative changes across the medial compartment, a prominent strain of the popliteus, and a moderate-sized joint effusion. (Ex. 21-2).          [73 Van Natta 445] In January 2018, Dr. Black, an orthopedic surgeon who became claimant’s attending physician, diagnosed an acute injury and “significant” chronic degenerative joint disease of the right knee. (Exs. 24-3, 26). Later that month, Dr. Black performed a partial medial meniscectomy and medial femoral chondroplasty. (Ex. 32). Dr. Black’s postoperative diagnoses included grade three changes in the medial femoral condyle of the right knee, grade four changes to the right knee tibia, grade three changes to the right knee trochlea, and a degenerative tear of the right medial meniscus. (Ex. 32-1-2).          In April 2018, the employer modified its acceptance to include a right acute medial posterior meniscus horn tear. (Ex. 38).          In August 2018, Dr. Puziss examined claimant. (Ex. 52). During that examination, claimant denied any prior complaints to either knee until his December 2017 work accident. (Ex. 52-4). Dr. Puziss reviewed “right knee films, 12/18/2017” and a right knee MRI. (Ex. 52-6). Dr. Puziss described claimant’s knee as “totally asymptomatic” prior to his 2017 work injury, despite the presence of preexisting right knee degenerative arthritis. (Ex. 52-7). Dr. Puziss opined that claimant aggravated his underlying right knee degenerative arthritis due to his torn medial meniscus and subsequent surgery. (Id.) He noted that claimant’s 2017 work injury was the major contributing cause of his condition that combined with previously asymptomatic right knee arthritis. (Ex. 52-8). Dr...

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