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Yates v. Boar's Head Provisions Co., Inc.

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

March 8, 2017

ANTHONY YATES APPELLANT
v.
BOAR'S HEAD PROVISIONS CO., INC., AND AMERICAN ZURICH INSURANCE COMPANY APPELLEES

         APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO. G504498]

          Goldberg & Dohan, by: Andy L. Caldwell, for appellant.

          Mayton, Newkirk & Jones, by: L. Eric Newkirk, for appellees.

          RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge.

         Anthony Yates appeals the decision of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission ("the Commission") finding that he failed to establish that he had sustained a compensable injury arising out of and in the course of his employment at Boar's Head Provisions Co., Inc. ("Boar's Head"). On appeal, Yates argues that the Commission's decision was not supported by substantial evidence. We affirm.

         Yates began working for Boar's Head on April 8, 2012. He initially worked in sanitation and then was promoted to a position at the smokehouse. At the hearing before the administrative law judge ("ALJ"), Yates testified that on June 13, 2015, he injured his right foot while working in the smokehouse. He described the accident as follows:

At the time of the accident, we were pulling blast into a cooler. I have to pull a [meat] rack that's probably twelve or thirteen hundred pounds. We were pulling it through an eye, a space of the rack that is about four feet. As I was coming through the aisle, I hit my right foot on a switch.

         He told his "lead, " Alex Patricio, that he had hurt himself and that he needed to see the company nurse, Linda Long. Yates testified that he reported to Long that he had hit his right foot on the meat rack. Long then wrapped his foot, and he went back to work. Later that day, Yates returned to the nurse's station and saw an emergency-medical technician, Nathaniel Moeri. Yates testified that Moeri rewrapped his foot and advised him that his foot was swollen but not broken. Yates worked three more days, but on the third day, he told his supervisor, Tremarcus Powell, that his foot had worsened and he needed to go to the hospital. He then went to the emergency room at Forrest City Medical Center and was diagnosed with an oblique fracture. At the hospital, he received a temporary cast and later a full cast. Yates explained that he did not work for seven weeks pursuant to his doctor's recommendation. He also testified that he had an emergency-room bill for $250, an x-ray fee of $55, and another fee for $15. He stated that his health insurance paid for a visit to an orthopedic physician.

         Linda Long testified that she is a nurse at Boar's Head and that she treats workers'-compensation and non-workers'-compensation injuries there. She explained that when an employee reports being injured while working, she completes an "employee first report of injury" form, fills out workers'-compensation paperwork, and reports the injury to her supervisor. Long testified that on June 13, 2015, she treated Yates for a foot injury, but Yates told her that he did not know how he had injured his foot. Thus, she did not complete the forms or report the injury. She also referenced a "first aid log sheet" that she had completed on June 13, 2015, where she wrote that Yates had reported to her that he felt "like his arch [had] dropped."

         Moeri testified that he treated Yates for a foot injury on June 13, 2015, but Yates did not tell him that the injury was work related. He stated that if Yates had informed him that he had injured his foot while working, Moeri would have sent him for an evaluation at Forrest City Medical Center and given him a workers'-compensation packet. Moeri also denied telling Yates that his foot appeared to be swollen.

         Moeri noted that on June 17, 2015, Yates returned to his office and completed an "employee first report of injury" form. Boar's Head introduced the form into evidence. On the form, Yates described his injury as follows:

To the best of my knowledge, I was working, pulling, and pushing [meat] racks to and from the blast and somehow my foot ha[d] a pain. I finished my duties, came to [the] nurse, and h[ad] it wrapped and continue[d] working. [T]hen, two hours later, I [went] back to the second shift nurse and ha[d] it wrapped again and continue[d] working.

         Boar's Head also introduced into evidence Yates's medical records from Forrest City Medical Center. The "nurse documentation" states that Yates reported "having right foot pain for two days but denies injury." The "physician documentation" provides, "Mechanism of Injury: HE CAN'T RECALL HOW HE INJURED HIS FOOT."

         On February 4, 2016, the ALJ entered an opinion finding that Yates had established a compensable injury to his right foot while working at Boar's Head on June 13, 2015. ...


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