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Robert Sauer, By His Personal Representative, Lisa A. Sauer v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Verizon Pennsylvania

August 26, 2011

ROBERT SAUER, BY HIS PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, LISA A. SAUER, PETITIONER
v.
WORKERS' COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (VERIZON PENNSYLVANIA, INC.), RESPONDENT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mary Hannah Leavitt, Judge

ORDER

AND NOW, this 26th day of August, 2011, the opinion in the above matter shall be designated OPINION rather than MEMORANDUM OPINION, and it shall be reported.

No. 1316 C.D. 2010

Submitted: December 23, 2010

IN THE COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA

Robert Sauer, by his personal : representative, Lisa A. Sauer, : Petitioner v. Workers' Compensation Appeal : Board (Verizon Pennsylvania, Inc.), : Respondent

BEFORE: HONORABLE RENEE COHN JUBELIRER, Judge HONORABLE MARY HANNAH LEAVITT, Judge HONORABLE JOHNNY J. BUTLER, Judge

OPINION

BY JUDGE LEAVITT

FILED: June 15, 2011

Robert Sauer (Claimant), by his personal representative, Lisa A. Sauer, petitions for review of an adjudication of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Board) denying Claimant's requests to reinstate his total disability benefits and to expand the description of his work injury.*fn1 In doing so, the Board affirmed the decision of the Workers' Compensation Judge (WCJ). For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Claimant was employed by Verizon Pennsylvania, Inc. (Employer) as a cable splicing technician. On November 20, 2001, Claimant sustained a work-related injury to his neck and right shoulder. Employer issued a Notice of Compensation Payable (NCP) that described the injury as herniated cervical discs at C4-5 and C5-6 and a right shoulder strain and stated that Employer was paying total disability benefits.*fn2 On August 16, 2007, Claimant returned to modified-duty work with no wage loss, and Employer suspended his benefits by issuing a Notification of Suspension.*fn3 Claimant did not challenge the Notification of Suspension.*fn4 The next day, on August 17, 2007, Employer terminated Claimant's employment.

In October 2007, Claimant filed a petition seeking a reinstatement of his total disability benefits as of August 17, 2007. Claimant alleged that he was entitled to benefits because he was terminated through no fault of his own. Then, in December 2007, Claimant filed a review petition to expand the description of his work injury to include depression, right shoulder rotator cuff tear, radiculopathy and carpal tunnel syndrome. Employer answered both petitions, denying the allegations.*fn5 The petitions were consolidated by the WCJ.

In support of his petitions, Claimant testified by deposition. Claimant described various shoulder, neck and right carpal tunnel surgeries he underwent after sustaining the work injury. Claimant also began treating with ...


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