CONSTELLIUM ROLLED PRODUCTS RAVENSWOOD, Employer Below, Petitioner
EDWARD BARNETTE, Claimant Below, Respondent
Appeal No. 2053011) (Claim No. 2018005073)
Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood, by Counsel Alyssa A.
Sloan, appeals the decision of the West Virginia Workers'
Compensation Board of Review ("Board of Review").
Edward Barnette, by Counsel Edwin H. Pancake, filed a timely
issue on appeal is compensability. The claims administrator
rejected the claim on September 28, 2017. The Office of
Judges reversed the decision in its May 18, 2018, Order and
held the claim compensable for left knee and hamstring
sprains. The Order was affirmed by the Board of Review on
November 29, 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
Barnette, a crane operator, injured his left knee while
ascending stairs in the course of his employment on August
26, 2017. Treatment notes from Jackson General Hospital
emergency department that day indicate Mr. Barnette was
walking up a flight of stairs when his left knee popped and
gave out. An x-ray showed mild degenerative changes. He was
diagnosed with a knee sprain.
August 28, 2017, email, Brian Well, Mr. Barnette's
coworker, stated that Mr. Barnette radioed him and stated
that he was walking up stairs when his left knee locked up.
Mr. Well stated that Mr. Barnette told him he did not fall or
twist his knee. In an email the following day, Stephanie
Pullen, a claim examiner with the claims administrator,
stated that Mr. Barnette reported to her that he was walking
up a flight of stairs when his left knee locked up. Ms.
Pullen stated that the injury was questionable because Mr.
Barnette was merely walking up a flight of stairs.
Reports of Injury were completed in this case. On August 28,
2017, the Employees' and Physicians' Report of Injury
indicates Mr. Barnette was climbing crane stairs when his
knee popped and gave out. The physician's section was
completed at Jackson General Hospital and the diagnosis was
listed as a left knee sprain. It was noted that the injury
aggravated a prior injury/disease. A second Report of Injury
was completed the following day. It indicates Mr. Barnette
was climbing stairs to a crane when his left knee popped and
gave out. The physician's section was completed by Dr.
Roush and listed the injury as left knee and hamstring
Roush, D.C., treated Mr. Barnette for left knee pain on
August 29, 2017. Mr. Barnette reported that he was walking up
a flight of stairs when his left knee popped and gave out. He
stated that he had left knee pain, weakness, and instability.
Dr. Roush fitted Mr. Barnette for a knee brace and
recommended an MRI. She diagnosed left knee sprain and left
hamstring sprain. A left knee MRI was performed on September
13, 2017, and showed degenerative changes and possible small
tears with adjacent tendinosis.
October 24, 2017, treatment note by Dr. Roush indicates Mr.
Barnette was treated for left knee pain. He had reduced range
of motion and difficulty bending. Dr. Roush diagnosed left
knee sprain and posterior cruciate ligament tear. On October
31, 2017, Dr. Roush noted that Mr. Barnette aggravated his
knee while mowing grass over the weekend. A surgical
consultation was recommended for a posterior cruciate
ligament tear. On November 2, 2017, Dr. Roush noted that the
left knee was swollen and weak. She recommended a
consultation for an anterior cruciate ligament tear. Mr.
Barnette underwent a partial medial menisectomy of the left
knee on November 16, 2017. It was noted that he had a small
posterior medial meniscus tear.
Barnette testified in a March 20, 2018, deposition that at
the time of his injury, he was climbing up crane stairs and
he felt a pop in his knee. At the time, he was at the
44th or 46th step, near the top. He
testified that he makes that climb four or five times a
shift. Mr. Barnette stated that he had no prior left knee
injuries or symptoms.
claims administrator rejected the claim on September 28,
2017. The Office of Judges reversed the decision and held the
claim compensable for sprains of the left knee and hamstring
in its May 18, 2018, Order. The Office of Judges determined
that Mr. Barnette showed by a preponderance of the evidence
that he sustained left knee and hamstring sprains in the
course of and resulting from his employment. The record shows
that he was climbing forty-six to forty-eight steps when his
left knee popped and gave out. The Office of Judges found
this to be an activity that was clearly performed in
furtherance of his employment duties. Further, the steps were
not a normal flight of stairs. Mr. Barnette stated he was
required to climb these stairs when the injury occurred. The
Office of Judges noted that this Court found in Cox v.
Fairfield Inn, No. 14-0871, 2015 WL 3767243, at *2 (June
16, 2015) (memorandum decision), that an employee who injured
her right ankle while walking down a hallway sustained a
compensable injury. Lastly, the Office of Judges noted that
there was no evidence submitted from a medical expert
indicating that the left knee injury was the result of a
the compensable conditions in the claim, the Office of Judges
found that the Report of Injury completed by Dr. Roush listed
the diagnoses as left knee sprain and left hamstring sprain.
There was no other medical evidence of causality submitted
into the record. Though Mr. Barnette underwent surgery for a
left meniscal tear, no physician of record causally connected
the tear to the compensable injury. The Board of Review
adopted the findings of fact and conclusions of law of the
Office of Judges and affirmed its Order on November 29, 2018.
review, we agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the
Office of Judges as affirmed by the Board of Review. Pursuant
to West Virginia Code § 23-4-1 (2008), employees who
receive injuries in the course of and as a result of their
covered employment are entitled to benefits. 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). A preponderance of the evidence indicates Mr.
Barnette was injured in the course of performing his job
duties and his left knee and hamstring sprains resulted from
his performance of said duties.
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 so clearly wrong
based upon the evidentiary record that even when all
inferences are resolved in favor of the Board of Review's
findings, reasoning and conclusions, there ...