CHRISTINA M. TURNER, Claimant Below, Petitioner
BENCHMARK CONFERENCE CENTERS OF WEST VIRGINIA, INC., Employer Below, Respondent
Appeal No. 2051226, Claim No. 2015023300
Christina M. Turner, by J. Thomas Greene Jr., her attorney,
appeals the decision of the West Virginia Workers'
Compensation Board of Review. Benchmark Conference Centers of
West Virginia, Inc., by Maureen Kowalski, its attorney, filed
a timely response.
issue in the instant appeal is the rejection of Ms.
Turner's claim for workers' compensation benefits. On
May 4, 2015, the claims administrator rejected the claim. The
Office of Judges affirmed the claims administrator's
decision in its Order dated March 31, 2016. This appeal
arises from the Board of Review's Final Order dated
August 31, 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
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
Turner alleges that she injured her lower back on February
19, 2015, while lifting frozen boxes in the course of her
employment at Stonewall Jackson Resort. On February 24, 2015,
Ms. Turner sought medical treatment with Allyson Andrews,
PA-C, for back, right hip, and right leg pain. Ms. Andrews
noted that Ms. Turner reported slipping in mud at her home on
February 9, 2015, and experiencing pain in her lower back
while lifting boxes during the course of her employment
following the February 9, 2015, injury. Ms. Andrews
diagnosed Ms. Turner with lumbago with sciatica.
Turner completed a Report of Injury on April 6, 2015. In the
report, she indicated that she sustained an injury to her
back and hip on February 19, 2015, while lifting frozen
boxes, and identified co-worker Christopher Brown as a
witness. The physician's portion of the report was
completed by Ms. Andrews on April 9, 2015. Ms. Andrews
indicated that she initially treated Ms. Turner on February
24, 2015, for lower back pain and sciatica after Ms. Turner
slipped and injured her back and hips approximately two weeks
prior. The claims administrator rejected Ms. Turner's
claim for workers' compensation benefits on May 4, 2015.
5, 2015, Mr. Brown, Ms. Turner's aforementioned
co-worker, signed a typed statement in which he indicated
that on February 19, 2015, he was moving boxes covered with
snow and ice with Ms. Turner. Mr. Brown further indicated
that he neither witnessed Ms. Turner sustain an injury nor
heard her report an injury on February 19, 2015. Finally, Mr.
Brown indicated that on February 18, 2015, Ms. Turner stated
that she recently sustained an injury when she slipped and
fell at her home.
Joseph Grady, M.D., performed an independent medical
evaluation on October 8, 2015. He noted that Ms. Turner was
injured on February 9, 2015, when she slipped and fell at her
home, and further noted that she was diagnosed in Stonewall
Jackson Memorial Hospital's emergency department with a
lumbosacral myofascial sprain/strain as a result of the fall.
Dr. Grady then opined that the evidentiary record does not
contain any evidence demonstrating that an injury occurred on
February 19, 2015. He noted that the evidence of record
indicates that the boxes that Ms. Turner was lifting on
February 19, 2015, were empty and, therefore, opined that he
cannot associate the alleged manner of injury with the
alleged injury. He then diagnosed Ms. Turner with chronic
lumbosacral myofascial pain secondary to degenerative
changes, as revealed via diagnostic imaging.
Order affirming the claims administrator's decision to
reject the claim, the Office of Judges held that Ms. Turner
did not sustain a compensable injury. The Board of Review
affirmed the reasoning and conclusions of the Office of
Judges in its decision dated August 31, 2016. On appeal, Ms.
Turner asserts that the evidence of record demonstrates that
she sustained an injury in the course of and resulting from
her employment on February 19, 2015.
Office of Judges found that the evidentiary record contains
multiple inconsistencies. Specifically, the Office of Judges
found that, although Ms. Turner indicated in the Report of
Injury that she was injured on February 19, 2015, while
lifting frozen boxes, in the same Report of Injury Ms.
Andrews indicated that Ms. Turner was injured when she
slipped and fell. Further, the Office of Judges found that on
February 24, 2015, Ms. Andrews also mentioned that Ms.
Turner's symptoms arose following a fall in mud, that
occurred on February 9, 2015. Additionally, the Office of
Judges took note of Ms. Turner's coworker's statement
that he did not witness Ms. Turner sustain an injury on
February 19, 2015, and also did not hear her report
sustaining an injury. Finally, the Office of Judges found the
finding of Dr. Grady that Ms. Turner sustained a lumbosacral
sprain on February 9, 2015, and did not sustain an injury on
February 19, 2015, to be persuasive. 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 Margaret L. Workman Justice Menis ...