Shaw v. SuperValu, Inc. and Sedgwick Claims Management Services, Inc.

Shaw v. SuperValu, Inc. and Sedgwick Claims Management Services Inc., Case No: WC14-5712 (September 30, 2014)

The employee sustained an injury to his right shoulder, neck, and upper back on October 28, 2011. The employee reported the incident to his supervisor immediately and was taken to Groves WorkReady, a facility under contract with SuperValu to provide “health and wellness” services to employees.

The employee treated with a physical therapist, several times through November 10, 2011. The physical therapist indicated that the employee was discharged at that time due to lack of symptoms.

The employee returned to Groves WorkReady about six months later due to continued symptoms and was referred to a medical doctor at Twin Cities Orthopedics who ordered and reviewed an MRI and subsequently released the employee to regular duties.

On June 20, 2012 the employee consulted a chiropractor through his own group health plan and received 11 chiropractic treatments through August 29, 2012. He continued working his regular job during this time.  

On August 23, 2013 the employee consulted a general practitioner at Park Nicollet and participated in 12 physical therapy sessions. He was rechecked in October 2013 and both objective and subjective improvements were found.

The employee filed a Medical Request seeking payment of his medical treatment after June 20, 2012. The employer and insurer admitted a work injury to the shoulder on October 28, 2011 but denied any injury to the cervical spine and claimed the treatment at issue was not related to a work injury.

The compensation judge found the employee’s testimony more credible than that of the physical therapist and that the employee sustained an injury to his neck, upper back, and right shoulder that was ongoing through the date of the hearing. The employer and insurer appealed this finding contending that it was not supported by substantial evidence.

The WCCA stated that “conflicts in submitted evidence are inherent in a contested workers’ compensation hearing.” The WCCA points out that the employer and insurer gave no specific reason why the compensation judge should have disregarded the employee’s testimony other than that it conflicted with the medical provider’s testimony. The WCCA did not find this a compelling enough argument to disturb the compensation judge’s credibility determination of the conflicting witnesses. Therefore, the WCCA affirmed the compensation judge’s decision.