Gerdau MACSTEEL and Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc., Appellants
Jason HINDMARSH, Appellee
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Dixon Horne PLLC, Little Rock, by: Joseph H. Purvis and Monte
D. Estes, for appellants.
and Gramlich, LLP, Fort Smith, by: M. Jered Medlock, for
T. WHITEAKER, Judge
Appellant Gerdau Macsteel ("Macsteel") appeals the
decision of the Arkansas Workers Compensation Commission
(Commission) that determined appellee Jason Hindmarsh proved
his entitlement to additional medical treatment and awarded
him temporary-total disability (TTD) benefits. Macsteel
argues that the Commissions decision was not supported by
substantial evidence. We affirm.
Factual and Procedural Background
sustained an admittedly compensable lower-back injury in
April 2015 while doing physical inventory for Macsteel.
Hindmarsh received conservative treatment for his injury
without positive results. He underwent a lumbar MRI scan in
August 2015 and a similar MRI in November. Both scans
indicated no disc bulges or protrusions and showed "no
definite lumbar spine abnormality." Hindmarsh continued
to experience lower-back pain and eventually saw Dr. Kyle
Mangels. Dr. Mangels ordered another MRI, which
was "read as being unremarkable" by Dr. Matthew
Powers. Dr. Mangels also described the MRI findings as
"basically negative." Nevertheless, because of
Hindmarshs complaints of unexplained pain, Dr. Mangels
thought a discogram was warranted.
Andrew Revelis performed the discogram of Hindmarshs lumbar
spine. He reported that the L4-5 disc had a normal retention
of contrast within the nucleus of the disc, indicating a
"normal nonpainful disc." Regarding the L5-S1 disc,
however, Dr. Revelis opined that the disc was "unable to
achieve a maximum pressure," which indicated
"annular degeneration ... with
extravasation of contrast into the outer third of
the annulus and the left periannular space." Hindmarsh
also reported concordant pain when the disc was injected that
was consistent with the pain he usually experienced. Dr.
Reveliss impressions were that L4-5 was a normal, nonpainful
disc, but L5-S1 was a "painful, concordant degenerated
disc." Dr. Revelis then sent Hindmarsh to Dr. Powers for
a postdiscogram CT scan. Dr. Powerss report of the CT scan
showed no abnormalities, however, and his review of the L5-S1
discogram found "an intranuclear injection of contrast
material without evidence of posterior annular tear."
the discogram and CT scan, Hindmarsh followed up with Dr.
Mangels. Dr. Mangels reviewed the films, including the
postdiscogram CT, and opined that Hindmarsh had disc disease
at the L5-S1 level. He advised Hindmarsh about surgical
options, including a posterior lumbar fusion, and Hindmarsh
expressed a desire to consider surgery. Macsteel denied the
requested surgical treatment, and Hindmarsh filed his
workers-compensation claim seeking approval for the
requested treatment as well as TTD benefits.
Hindmarshs claim proceeded to a hearing before an
administrative law judge (ALJ), who found that Hindmarsh had
proved his entitlement to additional medical treatment in the
form of the surgery recommended by Dr. Mangels. The ALJ also
found that Hindmarsh had demonstrated his entitlement to TTD
benefits from November 15, 2017 through a date to be
determined. The Commission affirmed and adopted this decision
in a 2-1 opinion. Macsteel timely appealed.
Standard of Review
Normally, we review only the decision of the Commission, not
that of the ALJ. Queen v. Nortel Networks, Inc.,2012 Ark.App. 188, at 3, 2012 WL 639540. ...