BEVERLY S. THOMAS, Claimant Below, Petitioner
BRAYMAN CONSTRUCTION, Employer Below, Respondent
Appeal No. 2052061) (Claim No. 2012025656)
Beverly S. Thomas, by Robert L. Stultz, her attorney, appeals
the decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation
Board of Review. Brayman Construction, by Lisa Warner Hunter,
its attorney, filed a timely response.
issue on appeal is whether Ms. Thomas's labral tear is
related to her compensable injury. On November 15, 2016, the
claims administrator denied Ms. Thomas's request to add
labral tear as a compensable condition in her workers'
compensation claim. The Office of Judges affirmed the claims
administrator in its June 28, 2017, Order. The Order was
affirmed by the Board of Review on November 17, 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
Thomas worked through her local union as a laborer. On August
29, 2011, she was working removing grease from a portion of a
crane and the crane operator turned the body of the crane,
pinning her between the body of the crane and heavy crane
weights. A September 12, 2011, right hip x-ray showed no
fracture, dislocation, bone destruction, or osteonecrosis.
Ms. Thomas was diagnosed with a right hip/groin
strain/contusion. An October 28, 2011, MRI of the right hip
was negative for evidence of a fracture or dislocation,
showed no abnormal periosteal reaction or edema with the
muscle, and showed no labral abnormality. The claim was held
compensable for a right hip/groin strain on December 6, 2011.
Thrush, M.D., performed an independent medical evaluation on
January 26, 2012. He noted that Ms. Thomas walked with a
slight limp and that her range of motion of the hips was
slightly decreased on the right. Dr. Thrush diagnosed hip
contusion, pelvic contusion, and hip adductor strain. Joseph
A. Snead, M.D., performed an independent medical evaluation
on December 26, 2012. He noted that Ms. Thomas continued to
work but indicated she chose more limited jobs. Ms. Thomas
continued to have right groin pain and right greater
trochanter pain. Dr. Snead opined she would continue to have
some type of groin/hip pain with heavy activity. He
recommended a follow-up MRI if Ms. Thomas continued to have
the pain and agreed with the 2% whole person impairment.
12, 2013, right hip MRI revealed femoroacetabular
impingement, abnormal separation along the central and
posterior aspect of the superior labrum, additional
separation of the posterior labrum, and mild common hamstring
tendinosis. Ms. Thomas sought treatment from Benjamin
Moorehead, M.D., on July 15, 2013. Dr. Moorehead noted the
MRI showed a tear and separation of the acetabular labrum and
diagnosed right hip stem acetabular labral tear and muscular
strain. He recommended an intraarticular steroid injection of
the femoroacetabular joint. On August 30, 2013, Ms. Thomas
reported the injection provided relief for about a week. She
continued to work but had significant pain when doing so. Dr.
Moorehead diagnosed right hip acetabular labral tear and hip
strain. He recommended a consultation with Adam Klein, M.D.
October 15, 2013, Dr. Klein saw Ms. Thomas for a surgical
consultation. He opined that "at this point arthritis
will determine the fate of her hip and not the presence of a
labral tear". He noted that patients over forty years of
age experienced greater failure with hip preservation surgery
than younger patients. He recommended a consultation with
John Christoferetti, M.D., regarding the surgical options.
January 6, 2015, a diagnosis update was completed adding
labral tear as a secondary condition. The diagnosis was based
on Ms. Thomas's hip pain and restricted range of motion.
The claims administrator denied the request on November 15,
Thrush evaluated Ms. Thomas for the second time on February
2, 2017. He noted the claimant had an orthopedist for over
three years, that she had gained over seventy-five pounds
since he last saw her, and that she walked with a limp. Dr.
Thrush opined that the claimant had early arthritis in the
right hip and that early arthritis was frequently accompanied
by labral pathology. However, in his opinion the labral tear
was not caused by the injury as it was not noted on the first
MRI. He diagnosed resolved hip sprain and hip contusion in
relation to the injury.
Office of Judges affirmed the claims administrator's
decision on June 28, 2017. It found that the weight of the
medical evidence supported Dr. Thrush's opinion that the
right hip labral tear was not causally related to the August
29, 2011, injury. The Office of Judges determined that the
medical evidence showed that Ms. Thomas injured her right hip
on August 29, 2011. Drs. Thrush and Snead agreed that the
right hip MRI that was performed two months after the injury
was normal. Two years after the injury, Ms. Thomas underwent
a second MRI that showed a labral tear. The Office of Judges
determined that the MRI taken two months after the injury was
more persuasive and probative than one taken two years after
the injury. It noted that three different physicians had
reviewed the 2011 MRI and not one of them found a labral
tear. The Office of Judges also noted that Dr. Moorehead, who
attributed the labral tear to the injury, did not mention the
2011 MRI, and therefore, his opinion regarding the etiology
of the labral tear was incomplete. The Office of Judges
relied on the opinion of Dr. Thrush, who explained that Ms.
Thomas had femoroacetabular impingement, which was a
pre-existing abnormality of the hip that could lead to early
Board of Review adopted the findings of fact and conclusions
of law of the Office of Judges and affirmed its Order on
November 17, 2017. After review, we agree with the reasoning
and conclusions of the Office of Judges as affirmed by the
Board of Review. The medical evidence shows Ms. Thomas had a
compensable contusion to the right hip. The physicians that
reviewed the right hip MRI that followed the injury agreed
the MRI did not reveal a labral tear. Ms. Thomas was unable
to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that the labral
tear seen on her right hip MRI taken two years after her
injury was caused by the injury. Therefore, the Board of
Review did not err in affirming the Office of Judges'
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 ...