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Chinchilla v. Walmart

Client:  Claims Management, Inc.

Attorney:  Ana-Eliza T. Bauersachs, Esq.

Petitioner filed a Motion for Temporary and/or Medical Benefits requesting lumbar spine surgery and injections to the cervical spine, as well as temporary disability benefits.  The respondent opposed the motion with a report from Dr. Gatto, who found petitioner’s condition not work related.

At trial, petitioner testified as to her employment duties. Petitioner’s IME doctor subsequently testified regarding petitioner’s current need for treatment and causal relationship.  Thereafter, Respondent’s expert, Dr. Gatto, testified and concluded there was no causal relationship between petitioner’s diagnoses and her occupational exposure. Rather, the doctor felt petitioner’s objective changes were age-related. Judge Thuring ordered the parties to obtain a third opinion. The court-appointed expert agreed with respondent’s expert and concluded petitioner’s condition was degenerative, not occupational in nature. Following submission of briefs, Judge Thuring issued an oral decision denying the Motion for Temporary and/or Medical Benefits, finding petitioner’s lumbar and cervical spine changes degenerative in nature and concluding that, pursuant to Section 31, age-related changes are not compensable.

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