Appeal No. 2052813) (Claim No. 2017014927)
Rhonda Maynor, by Counsel Reginald D. Henry, appeals the
decision of the West Virginia Workers' Compensation Board
of Review ("Board of Review"). Raleigh County Board
of Education, by Counsel Steven K. Wellman, filed a timely
issue on appeal is additional compensable conditions. The
claims administrator denied the addition of lumbar
intervertebral disc disorder and lumbar radiculopathy to the
claim on February 13, 2017. The Office of Judges affirmed the
decision in its April 13, 2018, Order. The Order was affirmed
by the Board of Review on September 20, 2018.
Court has carefully reviewed the records, written arguments,
and appendices contained in the briefs, and the case is
mature for consideration. 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
Maynor, a school aide, injured her lower back in the course
of her employment on November 28, 2016, when she bent over to
wipe a child's face. A lumbar MRI performed on December
1, 2016, showed mild retrolisthesis of L2 on L3. Ms. Maynor
sought treatment from Integrity Chiropractic and, on December
15, 2016, it was noted that she complained of low back, mid
back, and neck pain. She was diagnosed with lumbosacral
sprain/strain with muscle spasms and retrolisthesis of L2 on
L3; bulging discs from L2-L5; and disc degeneration at L2-3.
It was noted that she had reduced range of motion at L2-3
Maynor had a history of lower-back pain. Treatment notes by
Prakash Puranik, M.D., indicate Ms. Maynor presented on July
20, 2015, with lower back, right buttock, right hip, and left
knee pain. He diagnosed lumbago. On July 27, 2015, Dr.
Puranik diagnosed osteoarthritis of the pelvis, hip, and
thigh. On November 11, 2016, Ms. Maynor was diagnosed with
Employees' and Physicians' Report of Injury was
completed on December 16, 2016. Ms. Maynor reported that she
injured her lower back while bending over. The diagnosis was
listed as lumbar sprain/strain. A lumbar MRI was performed on
January 13, 2016, and showed bulging discs at L2-3, L3-4, and
L4-5. The claim was held compensable for lumbar sprain/strain
on February 3, 2017. Rocky Sexton, D.C., Ms. Maynor's
treating physician, requested that lumbar intervertebral disc
disorder and lumbar radiculopathy be added to the claim based
upon an MRI on February 3, 2017. The claims administrator
denied the request on February 13, 2017.
March 7, 2017, John Schmidt III, M.D., evaluated Ms. Maynor.
She reported back and right-leg pain. She stated that since
her compensable injury, she has experienced significant back
and right-leg pain. Dr. Schmidt's examination showed
limited range of motion in the spine. Dr. Schmidt reviewed
the lumbar MRI and found nothing more than minimal
degenerative disc disease throughout the lumbar spine. He
diagnosed low-back pain, bilateral-leg pain, and lumbar
degenerative disc disease.
Mukkamala, M.D., performed an independent medical evaluation
on November 14, 2017, in which he noted that Ms. Maynor
reported lower-back and bilateral-leg pain. He diagnosed an
exacerbation of preexisting lower-back pain. He noted that
the records show she had experienced back pain since 2015.
Dr. Mukkamala opined that the lumbar intervertebral disc
displacement was degenerative, preexisting, and not related
to the compensable injury. Dr. Mukkamala further found that
though Ms. Maynor reported symptoms of radiculopathy, her
deep tendon reflexes, motor examination, and sensory
examination were all normal.
Office of Judges affirmed the claims administrator's
decision in its April 13, 2018, Order. It found that Dr.
Sexton requested that the additional conditions be added to
the claim based on the MRI; however, neither he nor any other
physician of record offered an explanation as to how the MRI
findings were caused by the compensable injury. The Office of
Judges could not determine if Dr. Sexton was aware of Ms.
Maynor's preexisting lower back issues. The Office of
Judges found that she was evaluated by Drs. Schmidt and
Mukkamala. Dr. Schmidt, a neurosurgeon, reviewed the MRI and
found only minimal degenerative changes in the lumbar spine.
He diagnosed low-back pain, bilateral-leg pain, and
degenerative-disc disease. He noted that his examination
showed normal lower extremities. Dr. Mukkamala also found
normal lower extremities during his examination. He stated
that there was no objective evidence of radiculopathy and
further opined that Ms. Maynor's disc displacement was
the result of degenerative changes, not the compensable
injury. The Office of Judges found that his report indicates
he reviewed her medical history prior to the compensable
injury. The Office of Judges questioned whether the simple
act of bending over was even capable of causing
intervertebral disc displacement and radiculopathy. The
Office of Judges concluded that Drs. Mukkamala and Schmidt
found that Ms. Maynor suffered from preexisting degenerative
changes, which are not related to the compensable injury. She
received treatment for low-back and right-leg pain seventeen
days before the compensable injury. She failed to show that
the requested diagnoses should be added to the claim. The
Board of Review adopted the findings of fact and conclusions
of law of the Office of Judges and affirmed its Order on
September 20, 218.
review, we agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the
Office of Judges as affirmed by the Board of Review. Ms.
Maynor has degenerative changes that did not result from the
simple act of bending over. The record shows that these
problems preexisted the compensable injury and are therefore
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 Elizabeth D. Walker, Justice
Margaret L. Workman, Justice Tim Armstead, Justice Evan ...