JOHN S. BOOSINGER, Claimant Below, Petitioner
PRECISION CASTPARTS CORPORATION, Employer Below, Respondent
Appeal No. 2051270) (Claim No. 2015019731)
John S. Boosinger, by Edwin H. Pancake, his attorney, appeals
the decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation
Board of Review. Precision Castparts Corporation, by Marion
E. Ray, its attorney, filed a timely response.
issue on appeal is the compensability of Mr. Boosinger's
injury as well as authorization for medical benefits. The
claims administrator denied a request for physical therapy
and a steroid injection for the right knee on June 15, 2015.
On June 16, 2015, the claims administrator corrected a prior
January 28, 2015, decision and rejected the claim. The Office
of Judges affirmed the decisions in its April 13, 2016,
Order. The Order was affirmed by the Board of Review on
October 24, 2016. 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
Boosinger, an electronic yardman, filed an employees' and
physicians' report of occupational injury on January 20,
2015, alleging that he was walking the rails when his left
knee gave out on him and he fell, catching himself with his
right hand on a railcar. He reported injuries to his right
hand and wrist. The physician's section indicated a
diagnosis of hyperextended right thumb. It was reported that
the injury aggravated a prior injury or disease in that Mr.
Boosinger has previously undergone surgery on his right hand.
The employer's report of occupational injury indicates
Mr. Boosinger's left knee gave out while he was walking
by the rail car. He caught himself with his right hand and
overextended his hand and wrist causing a strain.
January 20, 2015, treatment note from St. Mary's Urgent
Care indicates Mr. Boosinger reported that his left knee gave
out and he put his hand out and hyperextended his right thumb
on a railcar at work. His medical history included a history
of arthritis and surgeries on the left knee, left hand, right
hand, right arm, and bilateral rotator cuffs. The assessment
was sprain of the right wrist/hand. An x-ray of the right
wrist revealed probable chronic changes at the base of the
first metacarpal. A more acute avulsion injury was not
entirely excluded. It was reported that he has previously
undergone a joint replacement at the site of the injury.
treatment note by Allen Young, M.D., on January 21, 2015,
indicates Mr. Boosinger had a history of problems with the
hand/wrist when he had degeneration of the scaphoid bone in
the bilateral wrists for which bilateral wrist surgery was
performed. He had worked since the injury. Dr. Young's
assessment was sprain/strain of the right wrist. Two days
later, Mr. Boosinger's wrist was still swollen and achy.
The assessment remained the same. The claims administrator
held the claim compensable for wrist strain on January 28,
January 30, 2015, treatment note by Alan Koester, M.D.,
indicates an assessment of wrist sprain. It was noted that
Mr. Boosinger returned following a reinjury of his thumb in
which his knee gave out and he fell. A left knee MRI taken on
February 23, 2015, showed a torn anterior cruciate ligament,
likely chronic. There was also evidence of prior arthroscopy.
The claims administrator granted authorization for orthopedic
consultation at Marshall University Orthopedics on March 10,
2015. On March 13, 2015, Dr. Koester noted that Mr. Boosinger
returned for evaluation of his right wrist following a fall
and sprain in January 2015. The impression was right wrist
sprain, early arthritis, and possible degenerative
April 15, 2015, treatment note, Jerry Ambrosia, M.D., noted
that Mr. Boosinger was seen for knee pain following a work
incident two and a half months prior when his knee buckled on
him. He had a history of chronic anterior cruciate ligament
deficiency for the past twenty years. It was Dr.
Ambrosia's impression that he sprained his knee. X-rays
of the left knee were negative for any sort of degenerative
process. The MRI of the right knee showed obliteration of the
anterior cruciate ligament. Mr. Boosinger reported occasional
giving away episodes with the left knee. Dr. Ambrosia wanted
to order physical therapy.
treatment note by James Reagan, M.D., dated May 19, 2015,
indicates Mr. Boosinger reported that he had experienced
anterior cruciate ligament problems since he was thirty-nine
but the most recent problems arose after he twisted it on
January 20, 2015. The assessment was left knee anterior
cruciate ligament deficiency status post knee sprain several
months prior. Dr. Reagan noted Mr. Boosinger did not report
feelings of instability until the twisting incident on
January 20, 2015.
November 12, 2015, Mr. Boosinger testified in a deposition
that on January 20, 2015, he was walking from one area to
another when he slipped or his knee gave out and he fell,
catching himself with his right hand. He was not having
problems with the right hand prior to the fall. His knee did
not initially hurt a great deal but a few days after the
injury occurred, it began to hurt. Mr. Boosinger testified
that his claim was held compensable on January 28, 2015, and
he received treatment. He stated that he had two prior left
knee injuries, a torn meniscus and a torn anterior cruciate
December 22, 2015, record review, Prasadarao Mukkamala, M.D.,
opined that Mr. Boosinger did not sustain an occupational
injury on January 20, 2015. He had medical evidence of
chronic anterior cruciate ligament deficiency of the left
knee for several years. Mr. Boosinger himself reported that
on the day in question his left knee gave out resulting in
him falling and catching himself with his right hand. Dr.
Mukkamala stated that the reason the left knee gave out was
because he has a chronic anterior cruciate ligament
deficiency. Dr. Mukkamala further noted that while Mr.
Boosinger reported right wrist pain immediately, he did not
mention left knee pain until February 13, 2015, more than
three weeks later. Dr. Mukkamala concluded that Mr. Boosinger
did not sustain a compensable work injury because he fell due
to a chronic knee condition, not his employment.
claims administrator denied a request for physical therapy
for the right knee and steroid injection to the right knee on
June 15, 2015. On June 16, 2015, it corrected the January 28,
2015, decision and rejected the claim. The Office of Judges
affirmed the decisions in its April 13, 2016, Order. It found
that neither the left or right knee were held compensable.
Therefore, there was no error in the claims
administrator's June 15, 2015, decision to deny
treatment. Mr. Boosinger asserted that he injured his left
knee on January 20, 2015. He stated that it did not hurt much
initially, but a few days later he had increased pain.
However, he did not report increased pain until three weeks
after the incident occurred, as Dr. Mukkamala also observed.
The Office of Judges further found that Mr. Boosinger's
explanation of what happened has been inconsistent. He
initially reported that his knee gave out and he fell.
However, on April 15, 2015, he told Dr. Ambrosia that he hurt
his knee at work a few months prior when his knee buckled on
him. Dr. Ambrosia noted that Mr. Boosinger had chronic
anterior cruciate ligament deficiency for twenty years and
had undergone three arthroscopies. On May 19, 2015, Dr.
Reagan noted that Mr. Boosinger did not report feelings of
instability in the left knee until he twisted it several
months prior. However, he reported to Dr. Ambrosia that he
has occasional giving away episodes which caused pain and
made certain activities difficult. Dr. Ambrosia stated that
this was due to a chronic anterior cruciate ligament tear.
The Office of Judges ultimately concluded that Mr.
Boosinger's left knee gave way, as he himself stated in
the report of injury, and that it gave way due to his chronic
left knee condition. Accordingly, there was no isolated,
fortuitous event attributable to his employment and the
injury is therefore not compensable. The right wrist sprain
that resulted from the non-compensable left knee giving way
was also found to be non-compensable. The Board of Review
adopted the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the
Office of Judges and affirmed its Order on October 24, 2016.
review, we agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the
Office of Judges as affirmed by the Board of Review. For an
injury to be compensable it must be a personal injury that
was received in the course of employment, and it must have
resulted from that employment. Barnett v. State
Workmen's Compensation Commissioner, 153 W.Va. 796,
172 S.E.2d 698 (1970). In this case, though Mr. Boosinger was
injured in the course of his employment, he was not injured
as a result of his employment. His knee gave way as a ...