GERDAU MACSTEEL AND GALLAGHER BASSETT SERVICES, INC. APPELLANTS
JASON HINDMARSH APPELLEE
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Dixon Horne PLLC, by: Joseph H. Purvis and Monte D. Estes,
Medlock and Gramlich, LLP, by: M. Jered Medlock, for
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, JUDGE
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 Commission's 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
Hindmarsh's complaints of unexplained pain, Dr. Mangels
thought a discogram was warranted.
Andrew Revelis performed the discogram of Hindmarsh's
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.
Revelis's 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. Powers's
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
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.
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
we review only the decision of the Commission, not that of
the ALJ. Queen v. Nortel Networks, Inc., 2012
Ark.App. 188, at 3. When, however, as here, the Commission
affirms and adopts the ALJ's opinion, thereby making the
findings and conclusions of the ALJ the Commission's
findings and conclusions, our court considers both the
ALJ's opinion and the Commission's opinion. Mercy
Hosp. Fort Smith v. Hendley, 2015 Ark.App. 527.
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. Baxter Reg'l Med.
Ctr. v. Ferris, 2018 Ark.App. 625, 565 S.W.3d 149.
Substantial evidence exists if reasonable minds could reach
the Commission's conclusion. Id. The issue is
not whether the appellate court might have reached a
different result from the Commission, but whether ...