Oglesby v. Metro Transit Authority

Oglesby v. Metro Transit Authority, No. WC15-5887 (June 6, 2016)

Employee appealed the compensation judge’s conclusion that preponderance of the evidence failed to establish that the Employee sustained an injury related to her work activities with Metro Transit or as a result of a specific injury on the date in question.

Employee claimed an injury arising out of a three line route of driving a Metro Transit bus.  The Employee indicated that at some point along her route on October 25, 2016, she developed right shoulder pain.  Hitting potholes aggravated her symptoms the most and by the end of her route, she could not lift her right arm.

The bulk of the Employee’s physicians opined that the work activities did not cause her symptoms but rather likely made her AC joint arthritis more apparent to her.  She had full range of motion, albeit with pain, and no impingement signs.  Three doctors indicated that the problem was likely arthritis or a strain injury.

The Employee eventually underwent an MRI and followed up with Dr. Matushin.  The MRI showed a partial thickness tear involving the joint surface of the supraspinatus and effusion consistent with bursitis.  Dr. Matushin at this point indicated that the tear was consistent with chronic use injury from the employee’s work which was characterized by “frequent repetitive motions of the left [sic] shoulder while driving.  The doctor found that the repetitive activity was a substantial contributing factor to the Employee’s injury.

The Employee was seen by Dr. Wicklund for the Employer and Insurer.  Dr. Wicklund felt that turning a steering wheel would not have resulted in the Employee’s partial rotator cuff tear or impingement.  An ergonomic evaluation was also conducted by Metro Transit.  The evaluator opined that no one of the activities of the job would “cause, contribute to, or exacerbate shoulder, elbow, wrist or hand pain symptoms.”  Dr. Wicklund was given the ergonomic report and he held the same opinion has his first report.

Judge Behounek found that preponderance of the evidence failed to establish that the Employee’s right shoulder injury was related to her work activities on October 25, 2016.

Judge Cervantes writing for the WCCA indicated that this finding in this case was supported by substantial evidence.  Judge Behounek had all of the medical records including the IME and an ergonomic evaluation which indicated there was no mechanism by which the Employee’s job could have caused the injury.  Dr. Matushin on the other hand did not have the ergonomic evaluation and her opinion that the Employee’s job was “repetitive” was without foundation.