TAMI L. PETRIE, Employee/Appellant,
TODD COUNTY, SELF-INSURED/MINN. COUNTIES INTERGOVERNMENTAL TRUST, Self-Insured Employer/Respondent,
BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF MINN. AND BLUE PLUS, Intervenors.
Minnesota Workers Compensation
Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals
November 9, 2018
CONSTRUED – MINN. STAT. § 176.011, SUBD. 15(d);
CAUSATION – PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITION. Minn. Stat. §
176.011, subd. 15(d), does not require that the diagnosis of
PTSD by a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist include an
opinion regarding causation of that condition.
& PROCEDURE. The compensation judge erred by not
addressing a contested issue of fact and law that had been
submitted at the hearing.
C. Swenson, Robert Wilson & Associates, P.A.,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the Appellant.
H. Storms, Lind, Jensen, Sullivan, and Peterson, P.A.,
Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the Respondents.
Determined by: Gary M. Hall, Judge, Patricia J. Milun, Chief
Judge, Deborah K. Sundquist, Judge.
Compensation Judge: Miriam P. Rykken
in part, vacated in part, and remanded.
M. HALL, Judge.
employee appeals the compensation judge’s denial of her
claim of post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of
altercations while working as a correctional officer for Todd
County. We reverse in part, vacate in part, and remand for
Petrie, the employee, has worked for Todd County, the
self-insured employer, as a correctional officer since 2003.
She testified that she had been involved in three
altercations with inmates while working for the employer, one
in 2006 and two in 2016. On September 12, 2016, an inmate
lunged at her as she entered a cell with a tray, requiring
the employee to restrain her and pin her down, then place her
in restraints. The next incident, two days later, involved an
inmate trying to grab medications from the employee and push
his way out of a cell. After the altercation resolved, the
cell was searched and a weapon made from a pair of eyeglasses
was found hidden in a hole of the cell wall. The employee
testified that the same inmate had previously been found with
another weapon made out of a piece of a table. On September
20, 2016, the employee filed a First Report of Injury stating
that the employee had “wrestled with inmate to get
[medications] from him and was hit across her back.”
(Ex. 14, see also Finding 13.)
September 22, 2016, the employee began attending therapy
sessions with Patti Venekamp, M.S., L. P., a licensed
psychologist, through an employee assistance program. The
employee was taken off work as of that date. During the five
sessions the employee had with this therapist through October
20, 2016, the employee reported experiencing difficulty with
sleeping and anxiety from these work incidents.
October 24, 2016, Kelsey Landis, M.S., at Psychotherapeutic
Resources evaluated the employee, who reported flashbacks,
avoidance, hypervigilance, being easily startled, worry,
anxiety, and fear due to the incidents. The employee was
treated with cognitive behavior therapy and supportive
therapy by Pamela Becker, M.A., who opined that the employee
met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in
a report dated January 12, 2017.
employee also treated with Susan K. Rutten Wasson, M.D., her
primary care physician, on September 28, 2016. Dr. Rutten
Wasson noted the employee’s increasing symptoms of
anxiety, agoraphobia, and panic attacks, and opined that the
employee “clearly” had PTSD. (Ex. H.)
in February 2017, the employee underwent therapy sessions
with Greta Kramer, M.S., at Milestone Counseling, Inc. The
employee reported the September 2016 incidents and symptoms
of depression, anxiety, flashbacks, intrusive recollections,
avoidance, diminished interests, feeling detached, persistent
negative beliefs and emotions, hypervigilance, and
irritability. Ms. Kramer diagnosed PTSD and depression.
January 9, 2017, the employee filed a claim petition listing
the nature of her injuries as PTSD and a back injury, and