FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Law Firm, by: Aaron L. Martin, for appellant.
Law Firm PLLC, by: Michael L. Alexander and Karen H.
McKinney, for appellees.
Whiteaker and Brown, JJ., agree.
J. GLADWIN, Judge.
Larry Rothrock appeals the July 24, 2017 opinion of the
Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission)
that affirmed the January 30, 2017 opinion of the
administrative law judge (ALJ) ruling that appellant's
claim for additional medical treatment after April 4, 2016,
was barred by res judicata. Appellant argues that the
Commission erred in (1) requiring appellant to prove that res
judicata did not bar his claim; (2) ruling that res judicata
barred appellant's claim; and (3) finding that
substantial evidence supported its finding that res judicata
barred appellant's claim. We affirm.
April 30, 2013, appellant sustained a compensable injury to
his lower back at work when he was lifting a tub of melted
plastic that weighed an estimated forty to fifty pounds.
Appellant was initially treated at Arkansas Occupational
Health Clinic from May1 through June 6, 2013. He obtained a
change of physician to Dr. Michael Morse at Neuroscience
Institute on July 23, 2013. Dr. Morse saw appellant on August
19, 2013, and referred him to Dr. Knox at NWA Neurosurgery
Clinic. Dr. Knox ordered a bone scan, and appellant returned
on September 16, 2013, to review the results. Dr. Knox was
unable to recommend any further neurosurgical treatment and
assigned appellant a five percent disability rating to the
body as a whole.
subsequently sought treatment almost two years later at UAMS
Family Medical Center on July 10, 2015, for reports of
low-back pain. An MRI was ordered on July 31, 2015, and
performed at Washington Regional Medical Center on August 9,
2015. Appellant returned on August 17, 2015, and was
instructed to follow up with Dr. Knox, which he did on
September 29, 2015. Dr. Knox recommended an injection and
physical therapy. Appellant returned to Dr. Knox on December
21, 2015, and Dr. Knox recommended continued physical
sought compensation for the 2015 treatment at UAMS and the
follow-up treatment with Dr. Knox. Appellee controverted the
additional treatment, and a hearing was held on January 5,
2016. The ALJ issued an opinion dated April 4, 2016, denying
appellant's claim and specifically ruling that appellant
failed to prove that the 2015 treatment was reasonable and
necessary. That decision was not appealed.
Dr. Knox corresponded with appellant's attorney on April
Concerning causation of his continuing difficulties,
[appellant] dates them back to the injury occurring on
04/30/13. He has been quite consistent with his continuing
difficulties and complaints. I do not believe surgery would
be in his best interest. His continuing difficulties, as well
as pain and need for continued treatment are due to the above
saw Dr. Knox on June 6, 2016. The history provided on that
date was substantially the same as the histories given on
September 29, 2015, December 21, 2015, and March 7, 2016. Dr.
Knox reported on June 6, 2016,
We discussed the possibility of surg. He assured me he is
quite motivated to avoid surg. He has an unusual L4 vert body
that has ...