Appeal No. 2051034 (Claim No. 2015010619)
Herman Maynard Jr., by Wendle Cook, his attorney, appeals the
decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Board
of Review. Rockspring Development, Inc., by Marion Ray, its
attorney, filed a timely response.
issue presented in the instant appeal is the rejection of Mr.
Maynard's claim for workers' compensation benefits.
On October 28, 2014, the claims administrator rejected the
claim. The Office of Judges affirmed the claims
administrator's decision in its Order dated December 15,
2015. This appeal arises from the Board of Review's Final
Order dated June 27, 2016, in which the Board affirmed the
Order of the Workers' Compensation Office of Judges. The
Court has carefully reviewed the records, written arguments,
and appendices contained in the briefs, and the case is
mature for consideration.
Court has considered the parties' briefs and the record
on appeal. The facts and legal arguments are adequately
presented, and the decisional process would not be
significantly aided by oral argument. Upon consideration of
the standard of review, the briefs, and the record presented,
the Court finds no substantial question of law and no
prejudicial error. For these reasons, a memorandum decision
is appropriate under Rule 21 of the Rules of Appellate
Maynard alleges that he injured his left knee in the course
of and resulting from his employment as a beltman on May 7,
2014. Mr. Maynard initially sought medical treatment at Logan
Regional Medical Center on May 18, 2014. It was noted that
Mr. Maynard reported experiencing left knee pain after his
left knee "popped" while he was at work. He further
indicated that his left knee has "popped" in a
similar manner "hundreds of times" in the past. The
treatment notes also indicated that Mr. Maynard's
symptoms began on May 14, 2014, and are not associated with a
known injury. He was diagnosed with a cruciate ligament
strain, possible cruciate ligament tear, and joint effusion.
A left knee MRI performed on May 27, 2014, revealed an
avulsion fracture of the tibial spine at the distal
attachment to the anterior cruciate ligament, a small tear of
the posterior portion of the lateral meniscus, and a
partial-thickness tear of the quadriceps tendon.
Maynard was evaluated by Robert McCleary, D.O., on May 21,
2014. Dr. McCleary noted that Mr. Maynard reported
experiencing a popping sensation in his left knee while
working on May 14, 2014. He further noted that the mechanism
of injury was a twisting-type injury. Dr. McCleary diagnosed
Mr. Maynard with left knee derangement. On June 19, 2014, Mr.
Maynard was evaluated in the office of Charles Giangarra,
M.D. It was noted that Mr. Maynard reported a six-week
history of left knee pain after experiencing a popping
sensation in his left knee while negotiating a step. Mr.
Maynard was diagnosed with an avulsion fracture of the left
tibial spine with associated laxity in the anterior cruciate
ligament. On August 20, 2014, Dr. Giangarra arthroscopically
repaired Mr. Maynard's anterior cruciate ligament and
August 28, 2014, Mr. Maynard completed a Report of Injury. In
the report, Mr. Maynard alleges that he injured his left knee
on May 7, 2014, when he slipped while walking along a
beltline and bumped his knee on a portion of the apparatus.
He further indicated that mine inspector A.J. Ball witnessed
the alleged incident, and that he immediately reported the
alleged injury to three coworkers. However, in the
physician's portion of the report, Dr. Giangarra
indicated that Mr. Maynard injured his left knee when he
experienced a popping sensation while negotiating a step. The
claims administrator rejected Mr. Maynard's application
for workers' compensation benefits on October 28, 2014.
affidavit dated July 6, 2015, Eric Varney, Rockspring
Development's safety representative, averred that all of
Rockspring Development's employees have been instructed
to report all injuries to him. He further stated that neither
Mr. Maynard nor any of his coworkers or supervisors ever
reported the alleged left knee injury. Mr. Varney noted that
Mr. Maynard identified Mr. Ball as a witness; however, Mr.
Varney stated that if Mr. Maynard did sustain an injury while
Mr. Ball was performing an inspection, he would have also
witnessed the injury because he accompanied Mr. Ball during
the course of the inspection. Mr. Varney then stated that he
contacted Mr. Ball regarding the alleged injury. Mr. Varney
indicated that Mr. Ball did not recall witnessing any
incident during which Mr. Maynard injured his knee.
Mr. Maynard testified in a hearing before the Office of
Judges on August 4, 2015. He indicated that he injured his
left knee on May 7, 2014, when he slipped and struck his knee
while walking along a beltline. Mr. Maynard then testified
that Mr. Ball witnessed the alleged injury and that he
verbally reported the alleged injury to Mr. Ball. He also
stated that he immediately reported the injury to four
coworkers. Finally, Mr. Maynard testified that he has never
experienced any discomfort in his left knee prior to the
Order affirming the October 28, 2014, claims
administrator's decision, the Office of Judges held that
Mr. Maynard has failed to establish that he sustained an
injury in the course of and resulting from his employment.
The Board of Review affirmed the reasoning and conclusions of
the Office of Judges in its decision dated June 27, 2016. On
appeal, Mr. Maynard asserts that the evidence of record
demonstrates that he sustained an injury in the course of and
resulting from his employment.
Office of Judges concluded that the evidence of record
contains too many inconsistencies to support a finding of
compensability. The Office of Judges pointed out that Mr.
Maynard initially reported experiencing a popping sensation
in his left knee with no associated injury when seeking
treatment on May 18, 2014, at Logan Regional Medical Center.
The Office of Judges further noted that Mr. Maynard reported
experiencing a popping sensation in his left knee numerous
times in the past, with the most recent occurrence being four
days after the alleged date of injury. Additionally, the
Office of Judges noted that Dr. McCleary's May 21, 2014,
report indicates both that Mr. Maynard experienced pain
following a popping sensation in his left knee and that he
sustained a twisting-type knee injury during a fall. The
Office of Judges also noted that in the Report of Injury, Mr.
Maynard indicated that he injured his left knee when he
slipped and bumped his knee. However, in the same report Dr.
Giangarra indicated that Mr. Maynard injured his left knee
when he experienced a popping sensation while negotiating a
step. The Office of Judges then found that the medical
evidence of record fails to demonstrate that the popping
sensation described by Mr. Maynard is representative of a
work-related injury. Moreover, the Office of Judges took note
of Mr. Varney's affidavit and Mr. Maynard's testimony
before the Office of Judges. Specifically, the Office of
Judges noted that neither Mr. Varney, who would have
witnessed the alleged incident had it occurred, and Mr. Ball,
who was named by Mr. Maynard as a witness to the alleged
injury, witnessed or was aware of the alleged injury prior to
the filing of the claim. Finally, the Office of Judges found
that although Mr. Maynard testified that he had no prior left
knee symptoms, his medical record received from Logan
Regional Medical Center clearly demonstrates that he
experienced significant problems with the left knee prior to
the alleged date of injury. The Office of Judges then
concluded that when considering the varying accounts
regarding the mechanism of injury, the evidence received from
Logan Regional Medical Center citing no known mechanism of
injury, Mr. Maynard's reports of prior left knee problems
while seeking medical treatment at Logan Regional Medical
Center, and the affidavit of Mr. Varney, the evidentiary
record contains too many inconsistencies to support a finding
of compensability. We agree with the reasoning and
conclusions of the Office of Judges, as affirmed by the Board
foregoing reasons, we find that the decision of the Board of
Review is not in clear violation of any constitutional or
statutory provision, nor is it clearly the result of
erroneous conclusions of law, nor is it based upon a material
misstatement or mischaracterization of the evidentiary
record. Therefore, the decision of the Board of Review is
CONCURRED IN BY: Chief Justice Allen H. Loughry II Justice
Robin J. Davis Justice Margaret L. Workman Justice Menis ...