Sullivan, 112119 ARWC, G800980

Docket Nº:G800980
Case Date:November 21, 2019
No. G800980
Arkansas Workers Compensation
Before the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission
November 21, 2019
         Hearing before Administrative Law Judge Barbara Webb on August 23, 2019, in Marion, Arkansas.           Claimant appeared pro se.           Respondents were represented by Ms. Gail K. Ponder Gaines, Esq., Barber Law Firm, Little Rock, Arkansas.           HONORABLE BARBARA WEBB, Chief Administrative Law Judge.          STATEMENT OF THE CASE          A hearing was held on the above-styled claim on August 23, 2019, before Administrative Law Judge Barbara Webb. A Prehearing Order was entered in this case on June 10, 2019, before Chief Administrative Law Judge Andrew L. Blood. 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 Prehearing Order was made Commission’s Exhibit No. 1 to the hearing record. The following 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 existence of the employment relationship at all times pertinent, to include June 18, 2016.
3. The respondents accepted as compensable a medical-only electrical shock injury to the claimant’s left hand on that date.
4. The claimant’s average weekly wage was $459.39 resulting in compensation rates of $306.00 for temporary total disability rates and $230.00 for permanent partial disability (PPD) rates.
         By agreement of the parties, the issues to be litigated are:
1. Whether the claimant is entitled to additional medical benefits.
2. Whether the claimant is entitled to temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits while he was working light duty.
3. Whether the claimant is entitled to temporary total disability (TTD) benefits.
         The record consists of a one (1)- volume transcript of the August 23, 2019, hearing, consisting of the testimony of Sylvester J. Sullivan and Cody Smith, and all documentary evidence consisting of Commission’s Exhibit No. 1 (Prehearing Order); Claimant’s Exhibit No. 1 (medical records); Respondents’ Exhibit No. 1 (medical records); and Respondents’ Exhibit No. 2 (Employer Records); In addition, the Claimant’s Pre-Hearing Questionnaire Response dated May 13, 2019, and the Respondents Pre-Hearing Questionnaire Response dated May 20, 2019, and Supplemental Response dated August 14, 2019, are incorporated by reference and made a part of this record.          CONTENTIONS          The contentions of the claimant are as set forth in the May 13, 2019, questionnaire response of same, which is incorporated in this record. The claimant asserts that while he continued to work for respondents following the June 18, 2016, compensable injury performing restricted/light duty from the date of the accident until September 22, 2016, he was not paid TPD benefits for the period in which he had to leave work to go to the doctor for his injury; that when released to return to work on September 22, 2016, he was unable to physically perform his assigned job tasks, due to residuals of the compensable injury, and that when he relayed same to his supervisor his employment was terminated. The claimant asserts that he has not worked since September 22, 2016, because of his injury and that he remains in need of medical treatment relative to the injury. The claimant acknowledged that he filed for and was awarded unemployment benefits.          The contentions of respondents are as set forth in the May 20, 2019, response to prehearing questionnaire of same, which is incorporated in this record. Respondents contend claimant has received all benefits to which he has shown entitlement; that the claimant was provided medical treatment, and light duty work where ordered by treating physicians, until the claimant was released at maximum medical improvement to return to work activity on September 22, 2016. Finally, respondents content the claimant’s symptoms and need for treatment, if any, are related to pre-existing diabetes and a stroke.          FACTUAL BACKGROUND          Sulllivan is 59 years old (DOB: 5-1-60). He was home-schooled and graduated from CCI Technology Institute. He received a certificate for air-conditioning and refrigeration. He is also a minister. He has allowed his Certificate to lapse since his injury.          Sullivan testified that he was employed by RichSmith Management as a maintenance tech and groundsman in October of 2015. He explained that RichSmith was an apartment complex. He had previously worked as a maintenance supervisor at Ledic Edgeway Apartments in 2003. Between 2003 and 2015, Sullivan worked on air-conditioning and refrigeration jobs on his own. Prior to 2003, he had worked at Waterstone Apartments for three years and at Twelve Oaks Apartments for four (4) years in maintenance. Sullivan testified that he also paints apartments and does repair work on appliances.          On June 18, 2016, Sullivan was one (1) of two (2) maintenance employees. One of the tenants called and reported that she had been shocked. Sullivan testified that her apartment had been assigned to the other maintenance man who had been there several times. He explained that the other man was not there that day and Sullivan was assigned by his manager to repair the light fixture. Sullivan testified that he turned the breakers off and took his screw driver to try to loosen the switch when the fixture popped, exploded, and sparked. Sullivan said he blanked out a little and recalled the tenant saying I told you that it shocked me. The tenant reported it to the office. Sullivan explained that he did not feel any pain or anything at that particular time until later that night. He reported the incident to Stacy, his supervisor, the next morning. At the time he reported pain in his left arm and hand. Stacy wrote down a statement and sent him to a doctor. He went to the Emergency Room at hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Sullivan testified that they performed tests and scraped his left hand with needles but that he couldn’t feel anything with his left hand. They wrapped his left hand up to his elbow in a protective sleeve to keep him from touching anything that would hurt, gave him prescription medication, and instructed him not to go back to work until further notice. He was...

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