Cochran v. Target Stores,

Cochran v. Target Stores, No. WC16-6013 (June 5, 2017).

The Employee was in the process of standing up, when his head hit the underside of a countertop, resulting in a laceration on his head, followed by severe headache, and some confusion but no loss of consciousness.  The claim was admitted and he subsequently was taken off work. He also underwent extensive treatment at HCMC TBI Clinic and other providers, eventually seeing a neurologist, neuropsychologist, and psychologist.

Notably, the Employee’s neuropsychologist found that his evaluation “revealed no residual cognitive sequela of the mild TBI he sustained.”  It was additionally noted that the Employee’s treatment plan should “move away from brain damage as the organizing theme for his symptoms,” instead attributing symptoms to a psychological condition.

The Self-Insured Employer acquired an IME from neurologist Dr. James Allen who found that the Employee sustained an abrasion and post-traumatic headaches, which would have resolved within two weeks of the injuries occurrence.  The Self-Insured Employer discontinued temporary total disability benefits and sought to terminate rehabilitation on the basis of Dr. Allen’s report.

At hearing, the Employee presented reports from the Employee’s treating physicians asserting that the Employee suffered a work injury, which necessitated ongoing psychotherapy treatment and restrictions.  In his Findings and Order Judge Wolkoff denied the Employee’s claims, ruling that the Employee’s injuries had resolved.

On appeal, the Employee argued that (1) the Compensation Judge failed to address the Employee’s claim that he had suffered a consequential psychological injury and (2) that Dr. Allen was not competent or qualified to provide opinions on the matter.  The W.C.C.A. dismissed both arguments.  First, when looking at the Compensation Judge’s findings and supporting memorandum in their entirety, it is clear that the evidence of psychological treatment was carefully reviewed by the Compensation Judge.  Secondly, Dr. Allen’s qualifications go to the weight of his opinions and not his admissibility.  Regardless, his competency was not objected to at the admission of Dr. Allen’s report at hearing and the objection is therefore waived.  The matter was affirmed in full.