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Bankston v. University of Arkansas Little Rock

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

February 1, 2017

KABIAS DOMINIC BANKSTON APPELLANT
v.
UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK AND PUBLIC EMPLOYEE CLAIMS DIVISION, STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEES

         APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO. G300647]

         AFFIRMED

          Sheila F. Campbell, P.A., by: Sheila F. Campbell, for appellant.

          Robert H. Montgomery, for appellee.

          MIKE MURPHY, Judge

         Appellant Kabias Bankston sustained an admittedly compensable injury to his neck and lower back while working for appellee University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) on December 14, 2012. UALR paid workers' compensation benefits for the related medical treatment provided, including temporary total-disability benefits, to Mr. Bankston until August 20, 2014. Mr. Bankston then alleged that he was entitled to additional medical treatment and additional temporary total-disability benefits from August 20, 2014, through a date yet to be determined. Mr. Bankston also alleged he was entitled to attorney's fees. UALR controverted Mr. Bankston's entitlement to these additional benefits and fees.

         A hearing was held on September 10, 2015, before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who issued an opinion on December 8, 2015. The ALJ found that Mr. Bankston had not met his burden of proving his entitlement to surgery or additional temporary total- disability benefits, and Mr. Bankston appealed to the full Workers' Compensation Commission (the Commission). On June 21, 2016, the Commission issued a 2-1 majority opinion affirming and adopting the ALJ's decision as its own.

         Mr. Bankston now appeals, arguing that the Commission's decision denying lumbar spine surgery and temporary total-disability benefits beyond August 20, 2014, is in error. We find no error and affirm.

         Mr. Bankston testified that he was 39 years old at the time of the injury, and he described his duties at UALR as "beautifying the campus, janitorial work, pulling trash, recycling, waxing and buffing floors, and any type of work that was needed for the campus." On December 14, 2012, Mr. Bankston was carrying a wet-vac weighing about 75 pounds up some stairs. He testified that, while he was in the process of putting it down, his back "popped, " causing him to feel a burning sensation in his back that radiated into his thighs, making it difficult for him to stand.

         Mr. Bankston sought treatment for his injury. At deposition, Dr. Qureshi, who treated Mr. Bankston, testified that his review of Mr. Bankston's January 2013 MRI in March 2013 showed

(1)A moderate-to-large paracentral disc extrusion at the L1-L2 level, [1]
(2)Chronic bilateral L5 Pars interarticularis fractures with no associated spondylolisthesis, "[2]
(3)Chronic disc degeneration at the L5-S1 level, and
(4)Epidural lipomatosis in the lower lumbar spine with effacement of the thecal sac at the L4-5 and ...

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