LEONARD D. YOUNG, Claimant Below, Petitioner
HUNTINGTON ALLOYS CORPORATION, Employer Below, Respondent
Appeal No. 2051117, Claim No. 2013023723
Leonard D. Young, by Edwin Pancake, his attorney, appeals the
decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Board
of Review. Huntington Alloys Corporation, by Steven Wellman,
its attorney, filed a timely response.
issue presented in the instant appeal is Mr. Young's
receipt of a 1% permanent partial disability award. On
September 24, 2014, the claims administrator granted Mr.
Young a 4% permanent partial disability award. The Office of
Judges reversed the claims administrator's decision, and
granted Mr. Young a 1% permanent partial disability award in
its decision dated January 29, 2016. This appeal arises from
the Board of Review's Final Order dated July 15, 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
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
Young injured his right knee on March 7, 2013, when his right
knee rotated internally after he slipped on a water spill
during the course of his employment with Huntington Alloys
Corporation. He initially received conservative treatment
from the on-site physician; however, following increased
right knee pain, he sought emergent medical care. An MRI
performed on March 19, 2013, revealed a meniscal tear in the
right knee, which was subsequently arthroscopically repaired.
On March 23, 2013, Mr. Young's claim for workers'
compensation benefits was held compensable for an unspecified
sprain of the knee/leg.
September 4, 2014, Prasadarao Mukkamala, M.D., performed an
independent medical evaluation for the purpose of determining
the amount of permanent impairment arising from the
compensable injury. Dr. Mukkamala noted that Mr. Young was
considering undergoing a right knee arthroplasty and opined
that Mr. Young's need for an arthroplasty is attributable
to non-compensable, pre-existing degenerative changes in the
right knee. He then opined that Mr. Young sustained 4% whole
person impairment as a result of range of motion
abnormalities in the right knee which are attributable to the
March 7, 2013, injury. The claims administrator granted Mr.
Young a 4% permanent partial disability award on September
24, 2014. Mr. Young ultimately elected to undergo a right
knee arthroplasty, and the procedure was performed on October
Guberman, M.D., performed an independent medical evaluation
on January 20, 2015.Dr. Guberman determined that Mr. Young
sustained 30% whole person impairment as a result of range of
motion deficits and pain present following the right knee
arthroplasty. However, he attributed only 15% whole person
impairment to the March 7, 2013, injury and attributed the
remaining 15% to Mr. Young's significant prior history of
right knee injuries, which required extensive prior
Marsha Lee Bailey, M.D., performed an independent medical
evaluation on September 15, 2015. Dr. Bailey opined that Mr.
Young sustained 1% whole person impairment as a result of the
partial medial meniscectomy performed for the treatment of
the March 7, 2013, injury. She noted that Mr. Young has an
extensive history of prior right knee injuries dating to at
least 1999, and opined that Mr. Young is currently
experiencing range of motion deficits attributable to
pre-existing osteoarthritis and degenerative joint disease.
Dr. Bailey then opined that all treatment rendered after June
13, 2014, including the right knee arthroplasty, is
attributable to pre-existing osteoarthrosis and degenerative
joint disease, as is demonstrated by Mr. Young's
extensive history of chronic, increasing right knee pain.
Order reversing the claims administrator's September 24,
2014, decision, the Office of Judges held that the evidence
of record demonstrates that Mr. Young sustained 1% whole
person impairment as a result of the compensable right knee
injury. The Board of Review affirmed the reasoning and
conclusions of the Office of Judges in its decision dated
July 15, 2016. On appeal, Mr. Young requests that the
September 24, 2014, claims administrator's decision
granting him a 4% permanent partial disability award be
Office of Judges found that Dr. Guberman's conclusions
are unreliable because Dr. Guberman provided an impairment
rating for the right knee arthroplasty, which was not
authorized by the claims administrator. The Office of Judges
then took note of Huntington Alloys Corporation's
argument that Dr. Mukkamala failed to apportion for Mr.
Young's extensive history of pre-existing conditions
because Mr. Young's relevant medical history was not
available at the time of Dr. Mukkamala's evaluation.
Finally, the Office of Judges concluded that Dr. Bailey's
report in which she recommended a 1% whole person impairment
rating arising from the partial medial meniscectomy is the
most persuasive report of record. We agree with the reasoning
and conclusions of the Office of Judges, as affirmed by the
Board of Review.
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 Menis E. ...