TYLER MORGAN, Employee/Appellant,
MIDWEST SPECIALIZED TRANSP. and ADMIN. CLAIM SERV., INC., Employer-Insurer/Respondents,
BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD MN/BLUE PLUS, Intervenor.
Minnesota Workers Compensation
Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals
December 20, 2018
- TEMPORARY INJURY. Substantial evidence, including medical
records and expert medical opinion, supported the
compensation judge's finding that the employee's work
injury resulted only in a temporary hematoma and, at most, a
mild and temporary aggravation of his right knee condition,
both of which resolved no later than November 30, 2016, with
no ongoing restrictions.
Adams, Adams, Rizzi & Sween, P. A., Austin, Minnesota,
for the Appellant.
Hartman, Heacox, Hartman, Koshmrl, Cosgriff, Johnson, Lane
& Feenstra, St. Paul, Minnesota, for the Respondents.
Determined by: Deborah K. Sundquist, Judge, Patricia J.
Milun, Chief Judge, David A. Stofferahn, Judge.
Compensation Judge: Sandra J. Grove.
DEBORAH K. SUNDQUIST, Judge.
employee appeals the compensation judge's findings and
order denying the employee's claim for penalties,
attorney's fees, wage loss, vocational rehabilitation,
and medical benefits. As the compensation judge's
findings are supported by substantial evidence, we affirm.
Morgan, the employee, age 33, has a significant history of
pre-existing knee injuries. (T. 103.) At the age of 17, he
injured his right leg and right knee when it sustained a
severed direct blow and was pinned between a wellhead pipe
and a motorcycle. At the age of 23, he twisted his right knee
and reported to his doctor at the Mayo Austin Clinic that his
right knee had popped out of place more than 20 times. In
July 2011, he twisted his right knee again and appeared to
have torn the lateral meniscus. He underwent surgery. Two
years later, he was in a motor vehicle accident and placed on
long term narcotics. The employee twisted his left knee while
getting out of a chair in November 2013 and reported to his
doctor at Olmstead Medical Center that he had a recurring
bilateral knee problem. He underwent surgery to the left knee
in January 2014.
2015, Midwest Specialized Transportation hired the employee
as an over-the-road truck driver to secure materials and haul
them in a flatbed truck throughout the Midwest. He was not
required to load or unload the truck. On August 30, 2016,
after checking in with the receiving department at his
delivery destination, the employee slipped while climbing the
metal steps leading up into the truck's cab. The employee
testified that he hit his right shin on the metal steps,
struck his right knee on the steps, and struck his left knee
on inside of the cab. He noticed immediate pain and swelling,
but picked up another load and delivered it before going to
the emergency room at Mayo Austin Hospital. The emergency
doctor recorded as history that the employee struck his shin,
six inches below his knee. No right or left knee injury is
mentioned in the emergency room record.
employee followed up on September 2, 2016, with David Paz,
M.D., at Mayo-Austin. Dr. Paz noted that an emergency room
x-ray showed no acute fracture in the tibia or fibula. He
recorded that the employee slipped on the steps leading to
the truck's cab and landed on his right knee, but there
was again no mention of a left knee injury. The impression
was contusion of the right leg, right leg and knee pain and
swelling, and right knee joint limitation of motion. Dr. Paz
ordered an MRI and took the employee off work. The employee
again sought emergency room care on September 4, 2016,
complaining of right leg swelling and pain. The history taken
on that date states that the employee struck his anterior
shin on a step; the employee denied any other injury from the...