Moss v. Wyoming Workers' Safety and Compensation Division

232 P.3d 1 (2010)

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Moss v. Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation Division

Wyoming Supreme Court
232 P.3d 1 (2010)

Facts

James Moss (plaintiff) was employed by Greene’s Energy Service when he suffered a lumbar injury in March 2003. Moss filed a claim with the Wyoming Workers’ Safety and Compensation Division (the division) (defendant) for temporary total-disability benefits, and the division awarded the benefits. In March 2004, Moss underwent surgery for his injury by Dr. Mary Neal, and hardware was installed in his body. Moss became ill and underwent surgery to remove the hardware. In 2005 Neal determined that Moss was not capable of working eight hours per day and had physical limitations. That same year, Moss was treated by another physician for pain management. At the division’s request, Dr. Michael Kaplan examined Moss and concluded that Moss reached maximum medical improvement with a 23 percent whole-body impairment rating. The division awarded Moss permanent partial-impairment benefits. In 2006 Neal certified that Moss was permanently totally disabled as a result of his 2003 injury and unable to return to gainful employment. Moss filed for permanent total-disability benefits. When the claim was denied, the Medical Commission (the commission) held a hearing. Moss presented evidence showing the Social Security Administration’s conclusion that Moss had cognitive defects. Moss provided a job-search log showing that he submitted applications to over 30 jobs. The division provided a video showing Moss doing yard work in May 2007 and reports from physicians who found Moss capable of medium-level employment. A vocational evaluator determined Moss could find local work. The commission found Moss was not entitled to permanent total-disability benefits and denied his claim. The commission based the denial on crediting the division’s evidence while discrediting Moss’s evidence. Moss appealed, and the district court affirmed the denial of benefits. Moss appealed, arguing the commission failed to follow the evidentiary-procedure requirements for the odd-lot doctrine.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kite, J.)

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