Loren E. Jones, Appellant,
U.S.D. No. 259, Appellee.
Under the Kansas Judicial Review Act, an appellate court may
reverse the Workers Compensation Board's determination if
the court finds that the Board erroneously interpreted or
applied the law. K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 77-621(c)(4).
appellate court gives no deference to the Workers
Compensation Board's interpretation of statutory
first step of statutory interpretation is to try to determine
the legislative intent by looking to the words of the
statute, giving common words their ordinary meanings.
the Legislature used the phrase, "If the employee has
preexisting permanent restrictions . . ." in K.S.A. 2013
Supp. 44-510e(a)(2)(D), it created a condition precedent
requiring the existence of such permanent restrictions
before the work tasks the restrictions address could
be excluded from the calculation of the task loss in an award
for a subsequent work injury. If there were no such permanent
restrictions, then the statute does not apply.
from Workers Compensation Board. Opinion filed May 4, 2018.
Reversed and remanded with directions.
Fisher, of McCullough, Wareheim & LaBunker, of Topeka,
L. Cook, Vincent A. Burnett, and Dallas L. Rakestraw, of
McDonald Tinker PA, of Wichita, for appellee.
Standridge, P.J., Hill and Buser, JJ.
an appeal by an injured worker from the task loss reduction
imposed on his workers compensation award by the Workers
Compensation Board. While he was working as a middle school
janitor for U.S.D. No. 259, Loren E. Jones hurt his cervical
spine and upper back while lifting and carrying boxes of copy
paper in 2011 and then hurt his lower back while shoveling
snow at the school in 2014. He claimed workers compensation
benefits for both injuries. The self-insured District
contested both of Jones' claims. Since the parties agreed
to seek separate awards for both injuries, the Workers
Compensation Division docketed the claims separately but then
adjudged them in a common proceeding.
administrative law judge granted Jones his benefits, and the
District appealed to the Workers Compensation Board. The
Board, again in a combined proceeding, affirmed the ALJ's
award for Jones' 2011 upper back injury after finding
that his cervical spine injury arose from a workplace
accident. The Board, however, reversed part of the award for
his 2014 injury after finding that the ALJ's task loss
determination failed to account for any task loss
attributable to the 2011 injury.
separate cases, both parties appeal to this court. In this
case, Jones, as the appellant, argues that the Board erred in
its task loss analysis for the 2014 injury. In the other
case-No. 117, 970-the District is the appellant and argues
that the Board erred in deciding the cause of Jones' 2011
cervical spine injury.
opinion, we will focus mainly on the task loss issue raised
by Jones concerning the Board's holding on his 2014
injury. We will, however, refer to some of the circumstances
of the 2011 injury and its treatment as it relates to the
2014 injury and the computation of task losses. In turn, we
will discuss in greater detail the facts of the 2011 injury
in our opinion in Case No. 117, 970.
is hurt and seeks medical treatment.
first accident occurred on February 14, 2011. On that date,
Jones' tasks included moving boxes of copy paper to
locations throughout the school, setting up bleachers in the
auditorium, and lifting a metal meal cart that had fallen
over. The school is a two-story building that does not have
an elevator, so Jones was required to carry the copy paper up
a flight of stairs. After performing this work, he began to
feel pain in his shoulders, arms, hands, and wrists. Jones
also claimed to have had numbness and tingling at this time.
Jones reported his injury to the District, and the District
referred him to Dr. John Babb.
went to see Dr. Babb about ten days later. Jones provided his
medical history and described the symptoms he was
experiencing. On a pain diagram chart, Jones stated that he
was experiencing symptoms in both shoulders, both arms, and
his right hand. At this time, Jones was most concerned with
his shoulder pain, but stated that his arms, hands, and also
wrists had been bothering him.
Babb treated Jones conservatively. He administered a
corticosteroid injection into Jones' shoulders and
ordered physical therapy. On June 11, 2011, Dr. Babb released
Jones to return to work without restrictions.
Throughout the treatment, Jones denied feeling numbness or
tingling in his arms. Although he was released to return to
work, Jones was still experiencing some pain in his shoulders
and down both arms. Jones ...