Amos v. Gartner, Inc.

17 So. 3d 829 (2009)

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Amos v. Gartner, Inc.

Florida District Court of Appeal
17 So. 3d 829 (2009)

Facts

On April 6, 2005, Peggy Amos (plaintiff) suffered a back and neck injury when she fell down the stairs during her employment with Gartner, Inc. (defendant). Prior to the incident, Amos had had three back surgeries. Upon request of Gartner and its insurer, Sentry Insurance (Sentry) (defendant), Dr. Dusseau treated Amos’s condition. Dr. Dusseau subsequently placed her at maximum medical improvement and did not allow her to work as of July 25, 2007. Amos filed a workers’-compensation claim for permanent total-disability benefits from July 25, 2007, and continuing. Dr. Glasser performed an independent medical examination of Amos and issued a report stating Amos’s injuries were not caused in major part by the work-related injury. Due to the disagreement in the medical opinions, the judge of compensation claims (JCC) appointed an expert medical examiner (EME) and directed all parties to provide medical records to the EME. The EME issued a report, which was admitted into evidence. Gartner and Sentry moved to admit a functional-capacity-evaluation (FCE) report, but Amos objected to it on the basis of authenticity and hearsay. The FCE report was admitted over Amos’s objection, and the JCC stated the rules of evidence did not apply to workers’-compensation proceedings. The JCC did not accept the EME’s opinion based on inconsistency on two material facts. The JCC found that Amos failed to meet her burden in proving the diagnosis of her back injury and its causation in the workplace. The JCC denied permanent total-disability benefits, relying on statements contained within the unauthenticated FCE report. Amos appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Van Nortwick, J.)

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