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Verizon Pennsylvania Inc. v. Workers' Comp. Appeal Bd. (Mills)

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

February 23, 2015

Verizon Pennsylvania Inc., Petitioner
v.
Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Mills), Respondent

Submitted October 17, 2014

Publication Ordered June 10, 2015.

Page 1158

Appealed from No. A12-1572. State Agency: Workers' Compensation Appeal Board.

Peter M. Harrison, Philadelphia, for petitioner.

Alfred J. Carlson, Philadelphia, for respondent.

BEFORE: HONORABLE BONNIE BRIGANCE LEADBETTER, Judge, HONORABLE PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge, HONORABLE JAMES GARDNER COLINS, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 1159

PATRICIA A. McCULLOUGH, Judge.

Verizon Pennsylvania, Inc. (Employer) petitions for review from the April 2, 2014 order of the Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Board), which affirmed the decision of a workers' compensation judge (WCJ) denying its modification petition. We affirm.

On November 27, 2006, Richard Mills (Claimant) sustained injuries while in the course and scope of employment with Employer. Pursuant to an Agreement of Compensation (Agreement) dated January 16, 2007, Claimant's work-related injury was described as lumbar spine, HNP L5-S1, and degenerative disc disease. (WCJ's Finding of Fact (FOF) No. 1.)

In a decision dated May 25, 2011, the WCJ granted Claimant's review petition and amended the Agreement to include post lumbar decompression and fusion; post laminectomy syndrome; left foot drop; radiculopathy of the left lower extremity; chronic pain; right knee and hip pain; and major depression. In this decision, the WCJ also denied Employer's modification petition because Employer failed to establish that Claimant had reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) as of the date of the Impairment Rating Evaluation (IRE). (WCJ's FOF No. 2.)

On November 21, 2011, Employer filed a second modification petition, alleging that Claimant's total disability benefits should be modified as of October 20, 2011, per the IRE of Francis Scott Carlin, D.O., who determined that Claimant was at MMI with a 44% whole body impairment rating. Claimant filed an answer denying these allegations. (WCJ's FOF No. 3.)

At the hearing, Claimant testified that following his November 27, 2006 work injuries, he underwent back surgery and continues to receive treatment for his injuries. Claimant stated that he sees a neurosurgeon, two orthopedic surgeons, a pain management specialist, and a psychologist. Claimant said that as a result of his ...


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