Hirst Applegate partner, Billie LM Addleman, recently obtained dismissal of a worker’s compensation claim on behalf of a mining client. In that case, the employee/claimant asserted he exacerbated a prior workplace injury while lifting heavy rocks on his day off. Hirst Applegate objected on behalf of the employer and defended the claim. The claimant had a decade long history of back issues, including a 2011 four-level discectomy to treat the condition, paid by the claimant’s private insurance. In 2017, while at work at the mine, the claimant aggravated his back condition and the injury was deemed a compensable workplace injury. After treatment, the claimant returned to work without incident and went more than eighteen months without any issues or treatment. In May 2019, the claimant aggravated his back condition while lifting heavy rocks. At the conclusion of discovery and designation of expert witnesses, Hirst Applegate filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of causation. Specifically, the employer argued that the claimant was unable to prove the 2019 aggravation was related to the 2017 workplace injury, but instead was an aggravation of a documented and well-known back condition. The Wyoming Medical Commission agreed and granted summary judgment for the employer mine. The claimant did not appeal the decision. In addition, the employer was awarded attorney’s fees and costs, as a prevailing party, under Wyo. Stat. Ann. 27-14-602(d).
Hirst Applegate represents employers in worker’s compensation matters including contested case hearings. For more information on this area of the law, please contact Billie LM Addleman at 307.632.0541.