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Lexicon Holding Co. v. Howard

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division III

May 6, 2015

LEXICON HOLDING COMPANY TRISTAR RISK MANAGEMENT, APPELLANTS
v.
PATRICK HOWARD, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION. NO. G30687.

Worley, Wood & Parrish, P.A., by: Melissa Wood, for appellants.

Thomas W. Mickel, for appellee.

BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge. GLADWIN, C.J., and ABRAMSON, J., agree.

OPINION

Page 697

BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge

Patrick Howard filed a compensation claim against Lexicon Company, alleging that he sustained a compensable injury to his right foot and ankle when he fell down some slick stairs at work. Lexicon initially paid for some of Howard's medical treatment, but it later controverted his claim entirely. In May 2014, an administrative law judge found that Howard proved that his right ankle injury was compensable and that he was entitled to temporary total-disability benefits. The Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission reversed the ALJ's temporary total-disability award but upheld the ALJ's finding that Howard sustained a compensable injury to his right ankle.

Lexicon Holding Company and Tristar Risk Management (collectively Lexicon) appeal the Commission's decision to award Howard medical benefits. Because substantial evidence supports the Commission's decision, we affirm.

I.

Patrick Howard is a sixty-year-old millwright worker from Illinois who repaired industrial machinery for Lexicon at a plant in Blytheville, Arkansas, during a shut-down period in November 2013. Howard testified during the administrative hearing that, on November 10, while working at the Nucor Plant during its shutdown, " there was all kinds of grease and oil" on the basement steps, and as he went down the last few steps, his " foot slipped from underneath" him and he fell on his right foot. Howard's foreman, who was " right in front of" him when he fell, told Howard to stay put and went to get some first-aid supplies; Howard remained seated with his ankle iced the rest of his shift. Howard

Page 698

said that he " tried working" the next day, because the ankle swelling had gone down some, but that, by around noon, it was bothering him again. Howard's foreman let Howard sit in his truck, and the foreman did " most of the walking." After his shift ended on November 11, Howard went to a motel and iced his ankle. By around three or four that morning, Howard said he " couldn't take no more" and drove to Illinois and sought treatment at an emergency room. Lexicon's employment records show that Howard failed to report to work on November 12 and that his employment was terminated on November 13.

As mentioned earlier, Howard received treatment at an emergency room in Illinois. The emergency room doctor ordered x-rays of Howard's right foot and ankle. Here is an excerpt from Howard's medical records from the ER visit:

HISTORY: Fall, twisted injury
Findings: 3 views right ankle obtained without comparison. Callus formation distal 1 third tibial diaphysis from remote fracture. No acute fracture or dislocation. Corticated calcification inferior to medial malleolus reflects remote avulsion. ...

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