RICKY WEBB, EMPLOYEE CLAIMANT
DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, EMPLOYER RESPONDENT
PUBLIC EMPLOYEE CLAIMS DIVISION, INSURANCE CARRIER/TPA RESPONDENT
Arkansas Workers Compensation
Before the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission
April 23, 2019
before Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth W. Hogan on January
31, 2019, in McGehee, Desha County, Arkansas.
Claimant represented by Mr. Michael D. Ray, Attorney at Law,
Respondents represented by Mr. Charles H. McLemore, Attorney
at Law, Little Rock, Arkansas.
ELIZABETH W. HOGAN, Administrative Law Judge.
hearing was conducted to determine the claimant’s
entitlement to payment of medical expenses, temporary total
disability benefits, and attorney’s fees.
issue is the compensability of the claim pursuant to Ark.
Code Ann. §11-9-102.
reviewing the evidence impartially, without giving benefit of
the doubt to either party, Ark. Code Ann. §11-9-704, I
find the evidence preponderates in favor of the claimant.
OF THE CASE
parties stipulated to an employer-employee-carrier
relationship on April 20, 2018, at which time the claimant
was earning sufficient wages to be entitled to a compensation
rate of $673.00/$505.00 in the event this claim is found to
be compensable. Health Advantage has paid some expenses.
claimant contends he injured his back after opening and
closing cell doors for the inmates to shower. He seeks
payment of medical expenses; temporary total disability
benefits from April 21, 2018, to a date yet to be determined;
and attorney’s fees.
respondents controverted the claim, contending the claimant
did not injure himself at work. The claimant had a
pre-existing condition for which he was receiving treatment
prior to April 20, 2018.
following were submitted without objection and comprise the
evidence of record: the parties’ prehearing
questionnaires and exhibits contained in the transcript.
following witnesses testified at the hearing: the claimant,
who appeared to be a credible witness and Sergeant
José Garcia, whose testimony was corroborative. The
claimant shifted his weight frequently while seated.
claimant, age 51 (date of birth: November 4, 1967), has a
high school education. He began work for the
respondent-employer in 1998. At the time of his injury, he
was making $24.30 per hour as a sergeant, working twelve (12)
to fifteen (15) hours due to a staff shortage. His health
history includes back pain in 2017 for which he received
treatment. He was off work two (2) months as there is no
light duty available at the prison. He returned to work at
full duty until the accident. The claimant also suffers from
heart disease, enlarged prostate (August, September 2018),
and kidney stones (July 25, 2018, until the accident). He had
right knee surgery in 2014. Although he does not own the
land, he farmed sixty (60) acres and used to take in
$10-$20,000 yearly. However, in 2018, he lost $2,000 in seed
money. He applied for Social Security Disability on October
claimant’s job duties included escorting prisoners to
and from the showers. Some of the cell doors have rusted
hinges and are difficult to open. There is actually one cell
door that requires guards to pull on the door while the
inmate pushes against the door from the inside. The prisoners
have to be handcuffed and shackled. Guards must traverse up
and down stairs and walk on concrete flooring.
day of the accident, the claimant was transferred to work in
a different unit. He injured his back and felt testicular
pain while trying to open a cell door. He reported the pain
to his coworker, Sgt. Garcia, and called his supervisor from
the control room...