Congratulations to Attorney Jean Dickson on a well-reasoned decision by Deputy Commissioner Andrew Phillips.
In Baker v. MSC Industrial Direct Co., File No. 5063687 (Arb. Dec. July 31, 2020), the Claimant had a work-related injury in April 2017 when a 750-1000-pound cabinet fell on him, striking his head. Claimant subjectively reported a number of symptoms as time progressed including, but not limited to, headaches, neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain, coordination issues, memory loss, loss of vision, depression, anxiety, and the development of a stutter. The treating physician found that it was reasonable to have Claimant under 24/7 supervision. Therefore, the insurance carrier set up a time for a nurse to visit Claimant’s home to assess what type of care he needed. However, Claimant’s girlfriend would not allow the nurse to enter the home. Instead, Claimant and his girlfriend argued that the girlfriend should be paid to provide 24/7 care to Claimant. There was much conflict between the opinions of various medical and vocational providers and examiners. Some examiners opined that Claimant was incapable of returning to employment and that he requires 24/7 supervision. The majority of physicians, however, found that Claimant did not have any work-related neurological dysfunction and his psychological distress was unrelated to the April 2017 work injury. The Deputy Commissioner also noted that the diagnostic testing showed no objective findings to corroborate Claimant’s subjective symptoms.
Therefore, the Deputy Commissioner found that the Claimant had failed to prove that he suffered any permanent injury as a result of the accepted April 2017 work injury. Moreover, the Deputy Commissioner found that Claimant was not entitled to 24/7 care because, in addition to the fact that he did not suffer a permanent injury, it was not reasonable to have his girlfriend care for him since she does not have a medical or nursing background; she failed to attend his medical appointments; she failed to supervise him during two separate occasions when he had allegedly fallen at home; she left Claimant at home with their child on numerous occasions so she could go shopping or take a walk; and she had a history of crimes of dishonesty including embezzlement, forgery, identity theft, and multiple felony thefts.
Well-deserved congratulations, Jean.