CHARLESTON – A decision by the state Supreme Court has upheld a decision by the Workers’ Compensation Board of Review.

The order that the court upheld was a decision by the Office of Judges that denied a request for authorization for a referral to a pain clinic.

It stems from an incident in 1994 where Gary D. Chenoweth hurt his back while working as an underground coal miner for Island Creek Coal Co. As a result of the injury he underwent a laminectomy in 2000, which is a surgery in which one or more vertebrae is removed to relieve pressure on nerves.

Following the surgery Chenoweth continued to have ongoing back pain and problems. In July 2014 he was treated for back pain after a fall at his home.

“He was diagnosed with acute and chronic lower back pain, and X-rays of his lumbar spine revealed severe degenerative changes,” the court document stated.

In August 2014 the claims administrator denied Cheoweth’s application that would authorize physical therapy as they said the pain was from a fall at his home. In February 2015 they again denied a request for a referral to a pain clinic for Chenoweth as they maintained his suffering was the result of a fall at his home.

“The Office of Judges held that the evidence of record demonstrates that the request for a pain clinic referral is unrelated to the compensable Sept.15, 1994, injury,” the courts documents stated.

It upheld its view that while Cheoweth’s chronic lower back pain was a result of the laminectomy and his acute pain was a result of the fall at his home.

“The Office of Judges noted that Mr. Chenoweth did not appeal the claims administrator’s denial of his request for authorization of physical therapy. Finally, the Office of Judges concluded that the evidence of record demonstrates that the July of 2014 fall on wet grass at Mr. Chenoweth’s home precipitated the request for authorization of a pain clinic referral.”

The court stated they agree with the reasoning and conclusions of the Office of Judges.

“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.”

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