May 26, 2011
FACTS: Claimant worked for the employer 19 years in different positions. Her performed various job duties through out the years of his employment. His last day for the employer was on July 5, 2001 when he retired. At trial, claimant alleged he had sustained an occupational disease. Specifically, claimant alleged he had bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome as a result of repetitive work activities. Further, claimant alleged he was permanently and totally disabled against the Second Injury Fund because of his carpal tunnel syndrome in combination with his pre-existing disabilities.
Although he alleged an onset date of July 5, 2001, the first medical suggesting symptoms of carpal tunnel was not until 2003. Claimant’s testimony that he had begun experiencing symptoms prior to leaving his employment was not supported by the records. Claimant could not name the physician he went to and then later contradicted himself by testifying he had not seen any physician for his hands prior to leaving his employment. Claimant’s evaluating doctor, Dr. Van Ryn, was found not to be credible. The doctor’s causation opinion was based in large part on claimant’s self serving history which was uncorroborated by the medical records.
FINDINGS: The Administrative Law Judge denied the claim in its entirety. The ALJ pointed out that the first evidence of symptoms of carpal tunnel in the records was not until 2003. This was already two years after separation from the employer. The Commission, in a two to one decision, affirmed. It reasoned that not only were there inconsistencies in claimant’s alleged date of onset but also a lack of any credible causation opinion linking claimant’s carpal tunnel to his work activities.
Robert M. Evans represented Chrysler