Appeal No. 2051713) (Claim No. 2016024243)
ERP Compliant Fuels, LLC, by H. Toney Stroud, its attorney,
appeals the decision of the West Virginia Workers'
Compensation Board of Review. Amanda J. Mott, by Jerome J.
McFadden, its attorney, filed a timely response.
issue on appeal is the compensability of the claim. The
claims administrator rejected the claim on April 29, 2016. By
its Order dated December 9, 2016, the Office of Judges
reversed the claims administrator's decision and held the
claim compensable for a right knee sprain. The Board of
Review affirmed the Office of Judges' Order on May 1,
2017. 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
Mott, a belt mechanic, alleges that she was injured in the
course of and as a result of her employment on March 4, 2016,
when she slipped on a piece of belt and landed on her right
knee, causing it to lock up. Ms. Mott proceeded to the
emergency room and was diagnosed with a right knee sprain.
Ms. Mott underwent an MRI on April 19, 2016. The MRI was
compared to an MRI performed on April 23, 2013, which
revealed there was no change to Ms. Mott's pre-existing
knee conditions. The claims administrator rejected the claim
on April 29, 2016. The Order stated that an injury was not
received in the course of and resulting from employment. The
claims administrator also noted that the recent MRI revealed
that Ms. Mott's pre-existing conditions were not changed
by the alleged injury.
Mott has a history of pre-existing conditions in her right
knee dating back to 2013. At that time, Ms. Mott was treated
by Bryan Stafford, PA-C, for bilateral hip strain and right
knee strain. As mentioned before, an MRI was performed on
April 23, 2013, which revealed a questionable finding for a
tear involving the posterior body and posterior horn region
of the medial meniscus. Ms. Mott was diagnosed with a
meniscal tear due to an injury at work to the right knee and
later underwent an arthroscopic medial meniscectomy.
October 19, 2016, Ms. Mott underwent an independent medical
evaluation performed by Prasadarao Mukkamala, M.D., regarding
the March 4, 2016, injury. Upon examination, Ms. Mott
demonstrated full range of motion in her right knee. Dr.
Mukkamala compared Ms. Mott's 2013 and 2016 MRIs and
concluded that no new changes in the right knee were
demonstrated. Dr. Mukkamala noted no objective evidence that
Ms. Mott sustained an injury in March of 2016. He did concede
that she developed pain in her right knee.
December 9, 2016, the Office of Judges reversed the claims
administrator's decision rejecting the claim. The Office
of Judges noted that while the record was sparse concerning
the events surrounding the compensable injury, sufficient
evidence existed to suggest that Ms. Mott sustained a
work-related injury on March 4, 2016. Ms. Mott sought medical
attention and was diagnosed with a right knee sprain.
Although evidence was submitted showing Ms. Mott had
preexisting knee problems, the Office of Judges found that it
did not preclude her from having a new compensable injury to
the right knee. As there was no contradictory evidence
concerning Ms. Mott's explanation of the injury, the
Office of Judges determined that the diagnosis of right knee
sprain should be held compensable in the claim.
Board of Review adopted the findings of fact and conclusions
of law of the Office of Judges on May 1, 2017. In the process
of reviewing the claim, the Board of Review considered this
Court's ruling in Gill v. City of Charleston,
236 W.Va. 737, 783 S.E.2d 857 (2016) . The Board of Review
notated a list of five factors which it considered in making
its determination. The factors are listed as follows:
1) Is the injury directly attributable to a definite,
isolated and fortuitous occurrence in the course of and
resulting from employment?
2) Did a medical provider request the diagnosis be included
as a compensable condition in the claim?
3) Was Claimant being treated for the diagnosis (or was the
condition symptomatic) immediately prior to the injury in
4) Does the preponderance of the evidence show the
compensable injury aggravated the ...