CHARLESTON – A West Virginia man with a history of neck injuries will not be drawing Workers’ Compensation benefits as a result of a recent state Supreme Court decision.
The court ruled on the case of Gregory S. Lutz vs. Mystic Hills Transportation, LLC on Sept. 10. All five justices of the court concurred in the memorandum decision.
On Sept. 22, 2009, Lutz alleged that he injured his neck while employed as a forklift operator and warehouse manager by Mystic Hills Transportation. The opinion says that Lutz claimed his injury occurred when he was operating a forklift with damaged tires that “caused him to have bumpy ride.”
The state Workers’ Compensation claims administrator denied his claim on Oct. 7, 2009, and the Office of Judges found that he had not proven by a preponderance of the evidence that he had sustained an injury at Mystic Hills.
The Office of Judges noted that Lutz’s Aug. 12, 2010, testimony that he had not suffered prior neck injuries was contradicted by hospital records.
The Board of Review agreed with the decision in its order of Nov. 7, 2011, and Lutz, having exhausted his administrative remedies, appealed to the state’s high court.
“The records from Camden Clark Hospital show that on September 20, 2000, Mr. Lutz suffered cervical and lumbar strains due to an auto accident; on February 8, 2003, Mr. Lutz was diagnosed with acute cervical strain and thoracolumbar strain after an auto accident; and on July 23, 2003, Mr. Lutz was diagnosed with acute cervical strain and trapezius strain after a ‘water slide’ incident,” the opinion states.
“On February 8, 2011, Dr. Mukkamala examined Mr. Lutz, reviewed his medical records, and concluded that there was no reliable objective evidence that Mr. Lutz had sustained any injury on September 22, 2009.
“We agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the Board of Review... For the foregoing reasons, we find that the decision of the Board of Review is not in clear violation of any constitutional or statutory provision, nor is it clearly the result of erroneous conclusions of law, nor is it based upon a material misstatement or mischaracterization of the evidentiary record. Therefore, the decision of the Board of Review is affirmed.”