HAROLD D. JORDAN, Claimant Below, Petitioner
SPARTAN MINING COMPANY, Employer Below, Respondent
Appeal No. 2051259) (Claim No. 2014001955)
Harold D. Jordan, by Reginald Henry, his attorney, appeals
the decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation
Board of Review. Spartan Mining Company, by Timothy Huffman,
its attorney, filed a timely response.
issue presented in the instant appeal is the denial of Mr.
Jordan's request to add additional diagnoses as
compensable components of his claim for workers'
compensation benefits. The claims administrator denied a
request to add an annular tear and radiculopathy as
compensable components of Mr. Jordan's claim on March 20,
2015. The Office of Judges affirmed the claims
administrator's decision on April 20, 2016. This appeal
arises from the Board of Review's Final Order dated
September 28, 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
Jordan injured his lower back while maneuvering a cable on
July 1, 2013, during the course of his employment with
Spartan Mining Company. He initially sought treatment in
Welch Community Hospital's emergency department for
ongoing lower back pain on July 15, 2013. X-rays were
performed and revealed degenerative disc disease and facet
disease, and Mr. Jordan was diagnosed with an acute
myofascial strain and lower back pain. On July 30, 2013, the
claim was held compensable for a lumbosacral joint ligament
August 7, 2013, Mr. Jordan sought treatment with Jackie
Shorter, PA-C, for ongoing lower back pain with radiation
into the left leg and associated numbness. Ms. Shorter
referred Mr. Jordan for a lumbar spine MRI, which was
performed on September 21, 2013, and revealed lumbar
degenerative disc disease and facet arthropathy.
Jordan sought treatment with Rajesh Patel, M.D., on December
9, 2013. Dr. Patel diagnosed Mr. Jordan with an L5-S1 disc
protrusion with mild impingement at S1. He recommended the
use of a brace and lumbar spine injections. Dr. Patel
re-examined Mr. Jordan on February 10, 2014, and April 9,
2014, and opined that Mr. Jordan's current diagnoses are
an L4-5 disc bulge, an annular tear at L5-S1, a left-sided
disc protrusion at L5-S1, a lumbar sprain, lumbar
radiculopathy, and lumbago. Dr. Patel also submitted a
diagnosis update request on April 9, 2014, in which he listed
Mr. Jordan's primary diagnosis as an annular tear and his
secondary diagnosis as radiculopathy.
Grady, M.D., performed an independent medical evaluation on
January 13, 2015. He noted that Mr. Jordan complained of
lower back pain with movement. Dr. Grady diagnosed a resolved
lumbosacral sprain superimposed on multilevel degenerative
changes and a previous L5-S1 microdiscectomy. He further
noted that there were no objective signs of lumbar
radiculopathy present upon examination. Following Dr.
Grady's evaluation, the claims administrator denied Dr.
Patel's request to add an annular tear and radiculopathy
as compensable diagnoses based upon its finding that Mr.
Jordan's medical record does not contain any evidence
confirming the existence of the diagnoses at issue.
Mukkamala, M.D., performed an independent medical evaluation
on February 3, 2016. Dr. Mukkamala noted that Mr. Jordan
complained of lower back pain with radiation into the left
lower extremity. He opined that Mr. Jordan's ongoing
symptoms are attributable to non-compensable degenerative
spondyloarthropathy as opposed to the compensable July 1,
2013, injury. Dr. Mukkamala further opined that the diagnosis
update request completed by Dr. Patel was unnecessary because
the diagnostic imaging of record does not confirm the
diagnosis of an annular tear, and there was no objective
evidence of radiculopathy upon Dr. Mukkamala's
Order affirming the March 20, 2015, claims
administrator's decision, the Office of Judges held that
Mr. Jordan has failed to demonstrate that the diagnoses of an
annular tear and radiculopathy are related to his employment.
The Board of Review affirmed the reasoning and conclusions of
the Office of Judges in its decision dated September 28,
2016. On appeal, Mr. Jordan asserts that the evidence of
record clearly demonstrates that the diagnoses of an annular
tear and radiculopathy arose from the injuries he sustained
in the course of his employment on July 1, 2013.
outset, the Office of Judges found that Mr. Jordan's
medical record indicates that his current symptoms, namely
lower back pain with radiation into the left leg, are very
similar to symptoms reported by Mr. Jordan during 1997 and
1998. Specifically, the Office of Judges found that following
an L5-S1 microdiscectomy performed on November 3, 1997, Mr.
Jordan again reported experiencing severe radiating lower
back pain on January 6, 1998. The Office of Judges then found
that Mr. Jordan described experiencing similar symptoms to
Ms. Shorter, Dr. Patel, Dr. Grady, and Dr. Mukkamala.
Moreover, the Office of Judges found that Dr. Patel's
treatment notes do not specifically link the diagnoses of an
annular tear and radiculopathy to the July 1, 2013, injury.
The Office of Judges then concluded that given Mr.
Jordan's pre-existing history of radiating lower back
pain, the record contains insufficient evidence necessary to
link the diagnoses of an annular tear and radiculopathy to
the July 1, 2013, injury. 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 ...