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In re Compensation of Luton

Court of Appeals of Oregon

July 22, 2015

In the Matter of the Compensation of Mark A. Luton, Claimant.
v.
WILLAMETTE VALLEY REHABILITATION CENTER, Respondent Mark A. LUTON, Petitioner,

Argued and Submitted January 21, 2015

1002303, 1003063. Workers' Compensation Board.

Dale C. Johnson argued the cause and filed the brief for petitioner.

Rebecca A. Watkins argued the cause for respondent. With her on the brief was Sather, Byerly & Holloway, LLP.

Before Lagesen, Presiding Judge, and Flynn, Judge, and De Muniz, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 151

[272 Or.App. 488] FLYNN, J.

Claimant seeks review of an order of the Workers' Compensation Board (board) that reinstated and upheld employer's denial of a claim for a right wrist injury. Claimant argues that the board erred in analyzing his right wrist condition as an occupational disease, both in failing to give adequate weight to the sudden onset of symptoms and because the finding of gradual onset is not supported by substantial evidence or substantial reason. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

We state the facts consistently with the board's unchallenged factual findings.[1] Claimant worked for employer Willamette Valley Rehabilitation Center (employer) from December 1994 to October 2010. His work duties included stacking wood, operating a nail gun, cutting wood with a saw, and wrapping bundles of sticks (the sticks job). For the sticks job, claimant held an elastic band in his left hand while he held and rotated a bundle of sticks with his right hand so that the sticks became wrapped inside the band. Throughout 2008, claimant experienced bilateral wrist pain during occasions when employer assigned him to the sticks job, but claimant primarily worked for employer as a sawyer, a job that involved repetitively cutting boards on a table saw.

On April 5, 2010, claimant was assigned to the sticks job. Claimant developed pain that day in his right wrist and later testified that he felt as though the work was " tearing" his " cartilage." Claimant worked again at the sticks job on April 6 and experienced more pain. On April 7, 2010, claimant continued performing the sticks job. At the end of that shift, his right wrist was very painful, and he advised employer of his right wrist pain. Claimant submitted a form to employer on April 10, 2010, stating that he had injured his right wrist while doing the sticks job on April 5, 2010. Claimant later filed an " 827" workers'

Page 152

compensation claim form for " wrist pain bilaterally" caused by wrapping " sticks with nylon banding tight" on April 5, 2010, " after lunch." Claimant took some time off of work [272 Or.App. 489] and, when he returned, he was assigned to a different job. On May 26, 2010, employer denied claimant's right wrist pain claim, which is the subject of the pending dispute.[2] Claimant's last day of work for employer was October 27, 2010.

Although claimant initially saw doctors who diagnosed the wrist pain as either related to a cyst in claimant's wrist or as tendonitis, his right wrist symptoms continued, and an MRI arthrogram performed in September 2010 showed that the triangular fibrocartilage (TFC) in his right wrist was possibly abnormal. On November 3, 2010, Dr. Dodds performed arthroscopic surgery, during which he discovered a " fairly large central tear of the [TFC] with the head of the ulna ...


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