FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Michael Hamby, P.A., by: Michael Hamby, for appellant.
M. Ryburn, for appellees.
M. GLOVER, JUDGE
White appeals the Arkansas Workers' Compensation
Commission's (Commission) denial of her claim that she
suffered a compensable injury while working for appellee
Butterball, LLC (Butterball). On appeal, she argues the
Commission's decision is not supported by substantial
evidence. We affirm.
was the sole witness at the hearing before the administrative
law judge (ALJ). She testified that, on April 29, 2016, she
injured her left wrist while she was dumping an approximately
300-pound barrel of unusable turkey parts and the handle of
the barrel broke, pulling her left hand. She said she
immediately began hurting from the middle of her left hand
down into her wrist, but she did not report the incident,
thinking she was not seriously injured. When she returned to
work two days later, her wrist began hurting and swelling
while she was taking boxes to the parts room. White reported
her wrist pain to Kevin Carter, her day manager, and was
instructed to see the nurse, where she was written up for
property damage, failure to report an injury, and for a
safety violation for failure to report an accident.
Butterball did not send White to a doctor, but she presented
at the emergency room on her own, where x-rays were taken and
she was given anti-inflammatory medication and a splint.
testified she quit her job at Butterball when she was not
allowed to seek treatment for her hand and wrist. She sought
treatment from her primary-care physician, Dr. Brandi
Guthrey, who initially put her on anti-inflammatory
medications and then on neuropathy medication; she also sent
White to physical therapy. White said her left wrist
continued to bother her, she had trouble driving, she dropped
things, and she could not lift with her left hand. White was
sent for a nerve-conduction study in late September, which
came back abnormal in both her left and right hands,
indicating bilateral carpal-tunnel syndrome. She was
scheduled to see an orthopedic surgeon approximately one
month after the hearing before the ALJ. White asserted she
had never had any problem with her left hand or wrist prior
to the handle breaking on the waste barrel, but she has had
problems with them ever since that time.
cross-examination, White said she had only worked at
Butterball for a little over one month before the barrel
incident. She was unsure how she had come to have bilateral
carpal-tunnel syndrome. White admitted Dr. Guthrey had told
her at one point that her weight was a major health issue,
and she believed White's carpal-tunnel symptoms were
weight related. She said Dr. Guthrey did not want to talk
about her left wrist being a workers'-compensation issue;
rather, she was more concerned about White losing weight.
White said she was currently trying to lose weight; she had
lost fifty pounds in three months.
first medical record provided by White was from her May 16,
2016 visit to Dr. Guthrey, which indicated White's chief
complaint was left-wrist pain from a fall, but it also stated
a host of other problems that were addressed at this visit,
including not only left-wrist pain but also issues including
obesity, polycystic ovaries, acute conjunctivitis, and joint
pain. Dr. Guthrey ordered x-rays of White's wrist and
referred White to physical therapy; she also wanted to look
into a bariatric referral for White's obesity. The record
did not indicate that any of White's issues were work
related. The x-rays of White's left wrist showed no
evidence of acute fracture or subluxation; the joint spaces
were maintained; the soft tissues were unremarkable; and
there was no acute osseous abnormality. Dr. Guthrey released
White to return to work on June 10, 2016.
began physical therapy on June 8, 2016, twice a week for four
weeks. A nerve-conduction test was performed on September 30,
2016; the results of the study were abnormal, showing
bilateral carpal-tunnel syndrome and sensory neuropathy of
the bilateral upper extremity.
order, the ALJ found White had failed to meet her burden of
proving by a preponderance of the evidence that she suffered
a compensable injury to her left wrist in the form of
carpal-tunnel syndrome. The ALJ initially noted that while
persons diagnosed with carpal-tunnel syndrome allege a
gradual-onset injury, White contended that her carpal-tunnel
syndrome was the result of a specific incident that occurred
on April 29, 2016. In denying White's claim, the ALJ
found that even though the nerve-conduction test confirmed
carpal-tunnel syndrome, there was insufficient evidence to
link it to a specific injury on April 29, 2016; the
nerve-conduction test indicated bilateral carpal-tunnel
syndrome, but White claimed only a compensable injury to her
left wrist; the fact she also had carpal-tunnel syndrome on
the right side without a history of injury indicated that the
left side was not causally related to any incident on April
29; Dr. Guthrey attributed White's symptoms to her
weight; and no physician was of the opinion her carpal-tunnel
syndrome was causally related to the April 29 incident. The
Commission affirmed and adopted the ALJ's opinion.
law permits the Commission to adopt the ALJ's opinion.
Stoker v. Thomas Randal Fowler, Inc., 2017
Ark.App. 594, ___ S.W.3d ___. When the Commission adopts the
ALJ's opinion, it makes the ALJ's findings and
conclusions its findings and conclusions, and for the purpose
of appellate review, we consider both the ALJ's opinion
and the Commission's majority opinion. Id.
the Commission denies benefits because a claimant has failed
to meet his or her burden of proof, the substantial-evidence
standard of review requires that we affirm if the
Commission's decision displays a substantial basis for
the denial of relief. Fulbright v. St. Bernard's Med.
Ctr., 2016 Ark.App. 417, 502 S.W.3d 540. On appeal, the
appellate court views the evidence in the light most
favorable to the Commission's decision and affirms the
decision if it is supported by substantial evidence, which is
evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion. Jones v. Target Corp., 2017
Ark.App. 199, 518 S.W.3d 119. The issue on review is not
whether the evidence would have supported a contrary finding
or whether we might have reached a different result; we
affirm if reasonable minds could reach the Commission's
conclusion. Bennett v. Tyson Poultry,
Inc., 2016 Ark.App. 479, 504 S.W.3d 653. We defer to
the Commission on issues involving credibility and the weight
of the evidence. Frost v. City of Rogers, 2016
Ark.App. 273, 492 S.W.3d 875.
Yates v. Boar's Head Provisions Co.,
Inc., 2017 Ark.App. 133, at 4-5, 514 S.W.3d ...