Friday, February 24, 2017

ALJ relies on treating physician to "break tie" on causation dispute

Harris v Union Electric
2017 MO WCLR Lexis 19
Feb. 15, 2017

The commission affirms a denial of benefits on a 2013 claim of occupational disease by a customer service representative.

The employer disputed causation based on expert opinion that claimant had multiple risk factors and her occupational was not intensive enough based on NIOSH standards to explain her carpal, cubital and trigger finger problems. 

Dr. Goldfarb, her personal physician, performed surgery but was unable to find the job intensive enough to make causation. Claimant relied upon expert opinion from a family doctor, Dr. Musich, based on attorney referral. 

The ALJ found Dr. Goldfarb's opinion more persuasive as a neutral party, that Dr. Musich relied upon incomplete information, and that Dr. Crandall over-relied on a threshold magical number of keystrokes to question causation. 

Patterson defended the case for the employer.