LORI ZABEL, Employee/Appellant,
GUSTAVUS ADOLPHUS COLLEGE and TRAVELERS GROUP, Employer-Insurer/Respondents,
MAYO CLINIC, ST. PAUL ELECTRICAL WORKERS’ HEALTH CARE PLAN, and RIVERVIEW CLINIC, Intervenors.
Minnesota Workers Compensation
Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals
October 12, 2018
– RES JUDICATA; PRACTICE & PROCEDURE –
DISMISSAL. The compensation judge erred in concluding that
the employee’s current claim for an unadjudicated, new,
and distinct injury was barred by res judicata pursuant to
Schuette v. City of Hutchinson, 77 W.C.D. 157
(W.C.C.A. 2016), summarily aff’d (Minn. Mar. 8, 2017).
Jelokov, Farrish Johnson Law Office, Chtd., Mankato,
Minnesota, for the Appellant.
Kenneth B. Huber, Law Offices of Kelly R. Rodieck &
Associates, St. Paul, Minnesota, for the Respondents.
Determined by: Patricia J. Milun, Chief Judge, David A.
Stofferahn, Judge, Gary M. Hall, Judge
Compensation Judge: James F. Cannon
PATRICIA J. MILUN, Chief Judge.
employee appeals from the compensation judge’s order
dismissing her claim petition with prejudice on the grounds
of res judicata. We reverse the judge’s order.
employed as a post office clerk for the employer, Gustavus
Adolphus College, on April 18, 2013, the employee, Lori
Zabel, slipped and fell on ice, suffering a brain/concussion
injury as a result of striking the back of her head. The
injury was admitted and benefits were paid. Arguing the
employee’s injury was temporary and had resolved, the
employer and insurer ceased paying wage loss benefits. The
employee’s objection to the discontinuance was heard by
a compensation judge on March 7, 2017. By Findings and Order
dated April 25, 2017, the judge found “the
employee’s symptoms relative to her brain/concussion
injury of April 18, 2013 were temporary in nature and fully
resolved as of May 19, 2014,” and denied the
employee’s claim for temporary total disability
benefits from August 2, 2016, through the date of the
hearing. (April 25, 2017, Findings and Order at Finding 24.)
This Findings and Order was not appealed.
2017 Findings and Order, the compensation judge described
medical treatment the employee received on July 13, 2015. On
that date, the employee presented at the Mayo Clinic
emergency room reporting symptoms of nausea and vertigo since
having had a concussion one year ago. She was diagnosed with
migraine headache and vertigo. (Id. at Finding 9.)
In a later finding, the judge described treatment received on
July 31, 2015, where the employee complained of a headache
starting on July 13, 2015, when she “[g]ot sick, lost
[her] balance and ran into a wall.” (Id. at
Finding 10.) The findings also state that the employee denied
a new injury in July 2015. (Id. at...