Crelia v. Rheem Manufacturing Co.

99 Ark. App. 73, 257 S.W.3d 115 (2007)

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Crelia v. Rheem Manufacturing Co.

Arkansas Court of Appeals
99 Ark. App. 73, 257 S.W.3d 115 (2007)

Facts

Allie Crelia (plaintiff) was injured while working on a press for Rheem Manufacturing Company (Rheem) (defendant). Four fingers of Crelia’s right hand were amputated. Crelia, who was right-hand dominant, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder from the accident and developed epicondylitis in her left arm due to overcompensating for the injury to her right hand. Crelia also had preexisting problems with ulcers on her feet that limited the time she could spend standing or walking. Crelia had a high school education, had performed factory work all her life, and at the time of her workers’-compensation hearing was 64 years old. Rheem’s insurance carrier accepted a 63 percent impairment rating to Crelia’s right hand, and Crelia also received benefits for the epicondylitis. Crelia underwent a functional-capacity examination and was found to be capable of performing medium work. Rheem offered Crelia a position in janitorial services and was willing to make accommodations for Crelia’s disabilities, including allowing Crelia to sit and stand as needed and to work only in Rheem’s administrative offices, but Crelia turned down the job. The administrative-law judge found that Crelia was not permanently and totally disabled and was therefore not entitled to benefits exceeding the percentage of impairment resulting from the scheduled injuries. The commission affirmed, and Crelia appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hart, J.)

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