Ross-Perkins, 123120 ARWC, G905704

Docket Nº:G905704
Case Date:December 31, 2020
No. G905704
Arkansas Workers Compensation
Before the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission
December 31, 2020
         Hearing before Chief Administrative Law Judge Barbara W. Webb on October 2, 2020, in Jonesboro, Craighead County, Arkansas.           Claimant represented by the Honorable Laura Beth York, Esquire, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.           Respondents represented by the Honorable Melissa Wood, Esquire, Worley, Wood & Parrish, Little Rock, Pulaski County, Arkansas.           BARBARA W. WEBB, Chief Administrative Law Judge.          STATEMENT OF THE CASE          A hearing was held on the above-styled claim on October 2, 2020, before Chief Administrative Law Judge Barbara W. Webb. A Prehearing Order was entered in this case on March 9, 2020. The Prehearing Order set forth the stipulations offered by the parties and outlined the issues to be litigated and resolved at this hearing. A copy of the March 9, 2020, Prehearing Order is made a part of the hearing record.          By agreement of the parties, the stipulations as submitted by the parties in the Prehearing Order and as amended on the record are hereby accepted:
1. The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission has jurisdiction of this claim.
2. The employer/employee relationship existed at all times pertinent hereto, including April 1, 2019, when Claimant sustained a compensable injury to her left knee and right ankle.
3. Respondents accepted the claim as a medical only claim.
4. Claimant earned an average weekly wage of $200.61, which would entitle her to weekly compensation benefits of $134.00 for temporary total disability benefits and $134.00 for permanent partial disability benefits.
5. Claimant stipulates to the authenticity of all medical records and/or bills.
         By agreement of the parties, the issues to be presented at the hearing are as follows:
1. Whether the Claimant suffered a compensable back injury.
2. If compensable, whether the Claimant is entitled to temporary total disability benefits, payment of medical benefits and/or additional medical treatment.
3. Controversion and attorney’s fees.
4. All other issues, including entitlement to permanent partial and total disability payments, are reserved.
         CONTENTIONS          The contentions of the Claimant are as set forth in the January 23, 2020, prehearing questionnaire response of same, which is incorporated in this Order. The Claimant contends that on April 1, 2019, she was walking out of the cooler at work when she slipped and fell, injuring her back, left knee, and right ankle. Claimant further contends that the Respondents denied the back claim in its entirety. Claimant further contends that an MRI to the lumbar spine revealed a disk herniation at L4-5. Claimant further contends that an MRI to the thoracic spine revealed a herniation at T4-5; T5-6; T6-7, and multiple bulging disks. Claimant further contends that she sustained compensable injuries in the scope and course of employment and that she is entitled to TTD, medical benefits, and that her attorney is entitled to an attorney fee. All other issues are reserved.          The contentions of Respondents are as set forth in the February 6, 2020, prehearing questionnaire response of same, which is incorporated in this Order. Respondents contend that all appropriate benefits have been paid with regards to Claimant’s left lower extremity injury sustained on April 1, 2019. Respondents further contend that Claimant did not sustain a compensable injury to her back on that date or at any other time while working for Respondent/Employer. Respondents further contend that there are no acute, objective findings of an injury with regards to the back.          The record consists of a one volume transcript of the October 2, 2020, hearing, consisting of the testimony of Tanesia Ross-Perkins, Michael Wonderly, and all documentary evidence consisting of “Commission’s Exhibit 1” (Prehearing Order and Hearing Notice filed March 9, 2020, plus Prehearing Responsive filings); “Claimant Exhibit 1” (Medical Index and Packet); “Respondents’ Exhibit 1” (Index and Medical Records); “Respondents’ Exhibit No. 2” (Index and Non-Medicals Documentary Records); and “Respondents’ Exhibit No. 3” (Page 34 from Claimant’s Deposition).          FACTUAL BACKGROUND          The Claimant, Tanesia LaShay Ross-Perkins, (DOB: 6/7/1981) completed the ninth grade and ultimately received a GED. After high school, she worked primarily in the fast-food industry and did factory work. She also did some janitorial work.          Ross-Perkins began working for Sodexo on February 4, 2019, as a food service worker on the campus of Arkansas State University. She testified that her job duties included prepping and preparing pastas and keeping the salad bar full and clean. She explained that at the end of the night, she would clean up and discard any of the food that was no longer good and would restock for the next day.          Ross-Perkins testified that on April 1, 2019, she was cutting some fruit for the salad bar when someone told her that something was needed on the salad bar. Her partner was on a lunch break. She went into the cooler and got a shotgun pan of cheese and milk, a shotgun pan of lettuce, and the big bucket of cheese. She explained that she was rushing because she was behind since she had finished cutting the fruit before she went to the cooler. She slipped on a cantaloupe peal with her right ankle and landed on her left knee, still holding the shotgun pan and the cheese. She got up and finished what she needed to do. She told one of the chefs, Bill, that she had fallen. She went and got her belongings and told Donna, one of the night managers, that she fell. She was told to take her belongings to her work station and went back in the office to make out a report.          She explained that as she walked out of the cooler, her right foot slipped on a cantaloupe peal and she fell on her left knee. She did not fall all of the way to the ground. She explained that her knee was on the ground and she was able to steady herself on the sink and the shelf. She...

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