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Nix v. First Staffing Group USA

Court of Appeals of Oklahoma, Division I

June 3, 2016

ROBERT D. NIX, Petitioner,
v.
FIRST STAFFING GROUP USA, COMPSOURCE MUTUAL INS. and THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION, Respondents.

          Mandate Issued: 02/07/2017

         PROCEEDING TO REVIEW AN ORDER OF THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION

         REVERSED

          John R. Colbert, COLBERT COOPER HILL ATTORNEYS, Ardmore, Oklahoma, for Petitioner,

          Donald A. Bullard, Terri J. Phillips, BULLARD & ASSOCIATES, P.C., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for Respondents.

          BRIAN JACK GOREE, JUDGE

         ¶1 Petitioner, Robert D. Nix (Claimant), seeks review of the order of the Workers' Compensation Commission which affirmed the decision of its administrative law judge (ALJ) denying an extension of temporary total disability compensation. Claimant's injury was treated with intravenous administration of medication in the emergency room. We hold the Commission committed an error of law in ruling that such treatment was not an injection within the meaning of 85A O.S.Supp. 2014 §62 (A).

         ¶2 Claimant was injured on March 23, 2015 when the semi-truck he was driving rolled over after the brakes failed. Ambulance personnel applied a cervical collar and transported him to the hospital in Ardmore, Oklahoma where he reported back pain, dizziness and blurred vision. In the emergency room CT studies were made of his head, cervical spine, lumbar spine, abdomen and pelvis. X-rays were taken of his chest and left knee. His blood was drawn and medication was administered by IV. The diagnostic studies showed no acute or substantial abnormalities. He was given prescriptions and discharged.

         ¶3 Claimant filed a notice of claim for compensation with the Workers' Compensation Commission alleging a single incident injury to his left leg, lower back, and head. On April 27, 2015 Claimant requested a hearing for temporary total disability compensation for a period beginning March 23, 2015.

         ¶4 Respondents, First Staffing Group, USA, and Compsource Mutual Ins. Co. (collectively Employer), filed an answer admitting Claimant was injured on the job and paid Claimant eight weeks of temporary total disability compensation. Claimant sought an additional eight weeks of TTD pursuant to §62(A), which limits TTD to eight weeks but provides an eight-week extension of TTD if the employee "is treated with an injection or injections." Employer objected, and the ALJ denied the additional TTD, finding that the intravenous therapy that Claimant received was not an injection within the meaning of §62. The Commission affirmed the ALJ's order.

         ¶5 In adopting the Administrative Workers' Compensation Act, (AWCA) the Legislature implemented the following standards for judicial review of Commission decisions:

The Supreme Court may modify, reverse, remand for rehearing, or set aside the judgment or award only if it was:
1. In violation of constitutional provisions;
2. In excess of the statutory authority or jurisdiction of ...

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