JOHNNY L. PARSONS, Claimant Below, Petitioner
ALFORD HOME SOLUTIONS, Employer Below, Respondent
Appeal No. 2051432 (Claim No. 2015009104)
Johnny L. Parsons, by Thomas H. Peyton his attorney, appeals
the decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation
Board of Review. Alford Home Solutions, by Steven K. Wellman
its attorney, filed a timely response.
issue on appeal is the appropriate amount of a permanent
partial disability award. This appeal originated from the
July 10, 2015, claims administrator's decision granting
no permanent partial disability award. In its June 16, 2016,
Order, the Workers' Compensation Office of Judges
affirmed the decision. The Board of Review's Final Order
dated December 16, 2016, affirmed the Order of the 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
L. Parsons, a carpenter, was injured in the course of his
employment on September 3, 2014, when he carried a section of
a wall to a dumpster. Mr. Parsons felt a pop in his left
elbow and pain in his upper arm radiating into his left
shoulder. Mr. Parsons presented to the emergency room and a
left elbow x-ray revealed enthesopathy along the lateral
epicondyle. The diagnosis was sprained left shoulder,
sprained left elbow, and muscle strain of the left upper arm.
On October 2, 2014, the claim was held compensable for an
injury to the left arm.
Parsons continued to suffer pain and eventually underwent an
MRI of the left elbow that revealed a tear along the distal
aspect of the biceps tendon with adjacent extensive, diffuse
soft tissue edema. On October 22, 2014, Mr. Parsons underwent
a left bicep repair performed by John Crompton, M.D., his
treating physician. Mr. Parsons subsequently underwent three
independent medical evaluations in an effort to determine the
extent of his permanent impairment arising from the
January 13, 2015, Prasadarao Mukkamala, M.D., authored a
report stating that he had recently performed an independent
medical evaluation of Mr. Parsons. Dr. Mukkamala noted that
the allowed conditions in the claim were non-traumatic
rupture of the biceps tendon and sprain of unspecified site
of the left elbow and forearm. Dr. Mukkamala diagnosed
rupture of the distal biceps tendon at the left elbow -
repaired surgically. He opined that Mr. Parsons had not
reached maximum medical improvement. Dr. Mukkamala noted that
an MRI of the left shoulder was reasonable and any pathology
revealed would need to be addressed. If the MRI showed no new
pathology, then Mr. Parsons would need to begin physical
therapy. Dr. Mukkamala opined that it would be six weeks
before Mr. Parsons would reach maximum medical improvement.
He deferred an impairment rating for two months.
6, 2015, Mr. Parsons underwent a second independent medical
evaluation performed by Dr. Mukkamala. Dr. Mukkamala again
noted that the allowed conditions in the claim were
non-traumatic rupture of the biceps tendon and sprain of
unspecified site of the left elbow and forearm. At the time
of evaluation, Mr. Parsons complained of pain on the left
side of the neck and tingling in the left arm, along with
pain on the radial aspect of the left forearm. Dr. Mukkamala
examined Mr. Parsons and determined that he had reached
maximum medical improvement for the compensable injury and
did not need any further treatment, including future office
visits, medication, pain management, or therapy. Dr.
Mukkamala noted that during examination, Mr. Parsons
exhibited a significant degree of symptom magnification and
exaggerated-illness behavior. Dr. Mukkamala opined that Mr.
Parsons did not have any permanent impairment resulting from
the compensable injury. On July 10, 2015, the claims
administrator granted no permanent partial disability award
based on Dr. Mukkamala's report.
November 19, 2015, Mr. Parsons underwent his third and final
independent medical evaluation. David Soulsby, M.D., was the
evaluator and he assessed a complete avulsion of the left
biceps tendon (status post satisfactory repair),
post-traumatic subluxation of the left ulnar nerve, cervical
sprain/strain (subacute), and possible left brachial plexus
injury. He stated that Mr. Parsons sustained either an acute
cervical sprain/strain or a stretch injury to the left
brachial plexus as a direct result of the compensable injury.
Dr. Soulsby also attributed the subluxation of the left ulnar
nerve to the compensable injury. Dr. Soulsby opined that Mr.
Parsons had not yet reached maximum medical improvement and
that further evaluation of the cervical spine was necessary.
He stated that an MRI would be the next practical step in
determining the degree of injury to his neck. In addition,
Dr. Soulsby stated that EMG testing of the left upper
extremity is necessary to document the severity of the injury
to the ulnar nerve at the elbow and to look for evidence of
neuropathic injury to the brachial plexus. Dr. Soulsby
disagreed with the conclusions of Dr. Mukkamala that Mr.
Parsons was at maximum medical improvement and noted that Dr.
Mukkamala failed to provide any explanation for the neck
symptoms and/or radicular pain and apparently ignored these
complaints. Dr. Mukkamala also failed to document the ulnar
nerve injury to the left elbow, again ignoring the neurologic
complaints of Mr. Parsons. Dr. Soulsby stated that Mr.
Parsons was not at maximum medical improvement with regard to
the cervical spine and/or brachial plexus and ulnar nerve at
the left elbow and thus providing an impairment rating at
that time would not be appropriate. With regard to the biceps
tendon, he found no evidence of permanent impairment related
to the compensable injury.
16, 2016, the Office of Judges found that Mr. Parsons has no
permanent impairment for the left arm injury. The Office of
Judges noted that the claims administrator granted no
permanent partial disability award based on Dr.
Mukkamala's independent medical evaluation report, which
found Mr. Parsons to be at maximum medical improvement for
the allowed conditions of non-traumatic rupture of the biceps
tendon and sprain of unspecified site of elbow and left
forearm. Dr. Mukkamala concluded that Mr. Parsons does not
have any permanent impairment resulting from the compensable
injury. In contrast, Dr. Soulsby opined that Mr. Parsons had
not reached maximum medical improvement and recommended
further evaluation of the cervical spine, including an MRI
and EMG testing. Dr. Soulsby disagreed with Dr. Mukkamala on
several points and opined that Dr. Mukkamala failed to
recognize that the cervical symptoms and subluxation of the
ulnar nerve were in fact directly related to the compensable
injury. Dr. Soulsby declined to opine an impairment rating
regarding the cervical spine, brachial plexus, or ulnar
nerve. However, Dr. Soulsby assessed no permanent impairment
related to the left elbow bicep tendon.
Office of Judges found that Dr. Soulsby based his finding
that Mr. Parsons had not reached maximum medical improvement
on cervical conditions that are not compensable in this
claim. He did note that Mr. Parsons had reached maximum
medical improvement for his left elbow bicep tendon injury
with no impairment. This finding was consistent with that of
Dr. Mukkamala's. Accordingly, the Office of Judges found
that Mr. Parsons had reached maximum medical improvement for
his compensable injury and that he had no permanent partial
disability. The Board of Review adopted the findings of fact
and conclusions of law of the Office of Judges and affirmed
its Order on December 16, 2016.
review, we agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the
Office of Judges as affirmed by the Board of Review. The only
compensable conditions in this claim are non-traumatic
rupture of the biceps tendon and sprain of unspecified site
of elbow and left forearm. Both Dr. Mukkamala and Dr. Soulsby
opined that Mr. Parsons has reached maximum medical
improvement for this compensable injury and that no permanent
impairment is present. The evidentiary record supports a
finding that Mr. Parsons suffered no permanent impairment as
a result of the compensable injury.
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 ...