PACKERS SANITATION SERVICES, INC., AND ACE AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANYAPPELLANTS
CECILIA QUINTANILLA APPELLEE
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Law Firm, P.A., by: William C. Frye, for appellants.
Stephen M. Sharum, for appellee.
Sanitation Services, Inc. (Packers) appeals the Workers'
Compensation Commission's (Commission) determination that
Cecilia Quintanilla suffered a compensable injury and is
entitled to temporary total-disability benefits. We affirm.
Quintanilla, appellee, is a 42-year-old undocumented
immigrant from El Salvador. She has lived in the United
States for over ten years, and she began working for Packers
in February 2015 under the alias Marisa Ramos. She assumed
the fake identity because she did not have appropriate
documentation to work in the United States. Cecilia worked
for Packers cleaning and sanitizing the production line at OK
Foods. On May 7, 2015, she was using a pressure hose and
chemicals to clean a production line when she stepped back
into a two foot by two-and-a-half-foot uncovered drain and
fell, injuring her shoulder, hip, and neck. She reported the
injury to her supervisor and sought medical attention at an
emergency room five days later. Throughout her medical
treatment she consistently testified that she fell at work,
hurting her shoulder and arm. X-rays at the emergency room
did not show any significant abnormalities, and she was
referred to an orthopedist, prescribed pain medication, and
given a sling to wear for her left arm.
days later Cecilia saw an orthopedist. She told him that
after the accident she initially "could not hardly lift
her arm." She said it was a little better, but she was
still in a "severe amount of pain." The
orthopedist's notes provide that Cecilia said she had
never had shoulder pain before, or hurt anything else in the
injury. He released her to work, restricting her to using
only one hand, but Packers terminated Cecilia's
employment because, through the workers'-compensation
claim, they had discovered she was using an alias and not
legally authorized to work in the United States.
continued to receive treatment for her shoulder pain and
underwent an MRI of her injured shoulder on July 15, 2015.
The MRI showed that she had an "inferior acromial spur
with mild impingement with a trace of fluid subacromial
bursa, some signal distal supraspinatus tendon without
retraction, and probable focal tendonopathy." Her doctor
recommended continued conservative care and follow-up if
further problems arose. A little over three months after her
injury she saw a new doctor who concluded that Cecilia had
reached maximum medical improvement and had no permanent
administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded that Cecilia had not
suffered a compensable injury to her neck, hip, or shoulder
and was not entitled to additional medical benefits. The
Commission reversed the ALJ as to the shoulder injury.
Packers now appeals, arguing that Cecilia did not suffer a
compensable injury, or that, if she did, she was not entitled
to temporary total-disability benefits because of her status
as an unauthorized alien with respect to employment as
contemplated by federal law.
Standard of Review
review Commission decisions to determine whether there is any
substantial evidence to support them. Towler v. Tyson
Poultry, Inc., 2012 Ark.App. 546, at 2, 423 S.W.3d 664,
666. Substantial evidence is relevant evidence that a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Id. We review the evidence and all
reasonable inferences deducible therefrom in the light most
favorable to the Commission's findings. Id.
Where, as here, the Commission denies claims because of the
failure to show entitlement to benefits by a preponderance of
the evidence, the substantial-evidence standard of review
requires that we affirm if the Commission's opinion
displays a substantial basis for the denial of relief.
Id. The Commission is the ultimate arbiter of weight
and credibility. Id.
first argues that there were no objective findings to support
Cecilia's shoulder injury, because (1) the findings were
based on complaints of pain, (2) the ER reports indicating
"shoulder pain-swelling" is just a description for
a billing code and not an objective finding; and (3) that the
MRI shows only a preexisting condition (the spur).
Arkansas workers' compensation law, a compensable injury
includes accidental injuries that cause physical harm
requiring medical services when they occur in the course of
employment. Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-102(4)(A)(i)(Repl.
2014). Compensable injuries must be established by objective
findings, Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-102(4)(D), and
"objective findings" are those findings that cannot
come under the voluntary control of the patient. Ark. Code
Ann. § 11-9-102(16)(A)(i). Furthermore, complaints of
pain and muscle tenderness are not ...