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Bement v. Montana Power Co.

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

November 30, 1993

GEORGE BEMENT Petitioner
v.
MONTANA POWER COMPANY Respondent/Employer.

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND JUDGMENT

          Mike McCarter Judge

         The trial in this matter was held on Monday, September 13, 1993, in Billings, Montana. Petitioner, George Bement, was present and represented by Victor R. Halverson. Respondent, Montana Power Company, was represented by Robert T. O'Leary. The petitioner was sworn and testified. Exhibit Nos. 1 through 16 were admitted by stipulation. Claimant withdrew Exhibit No. 4 at time of trial. The original depositions of petitioner and Dr. Robert Cadoff were admitted into evidence.

         Having considered the pretrial order, the testimony presented at trial and through the depositions, the demeanor of Mr. Bement, and the exhibits, the Court makes the following:

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. Petitioner is 42 years old and has a high school education. He is married and has three children.

         2. On November 21, 1986, petitioner suffered an industrial injury arising out of and in the course of his employment with Montana Power Company in Colstrip, Rosebud County, Montana. Petitioner injured his left testicle when the hydroblaster gun he was operating kicked back and struck him in the groin.

         3. At the time of injury, Montana Power Company was enrolled under Compensation Plan One of the Workers' Compensation Act and was self-insured.

         4. Following his industrial accident the petitioner continued to work off and on for a couple weeks and was thereafter off work until March 20, 1987.

         5. Respondent accepted liability for petitioner's claim for compensation and has paid medical and temporary total disability benefits to petitioner. Temporary total benefits were paid from December 17, 1986 through March 19, 1987.

         6. At the time of his injury, petitioner was employed by Montana Power Company as a utility man at an hourly wage of $13.00 per hour. (The wage for that position is now $16.18 an hour.) He performed general labor but most of his work was cleaning scrubbers at Montana Power Company's Colstrip units. The job required him to operate a high pressure water gun called a hydroblaster, which he used to wash down the scrubber walls. Petitioner shovelled the debris washed off the walls into buckets, which he then carried out. The buckets often weighed 60 to 80 pounds. The job required squatting, some crawling, climbing stairs and standing on grating.

         7. After his return to work on March 20, 1987, the petitioner continued working for 16 months. Petitioner testified that during this time he missed 6 to 8 days of work due to his pain. However, he acknowledged that he did not request workers' compensation benefits for those days.

         8. During his continued employment with Montana Power Company, the petitioner was able to adequately perform his duties. He received excellent performance appraisals.

         9. The petitioner terminated his employment in July, 1988. He submitted a letter of resignation which stated:

I've very much enjoyed working for MPC and the guys on Crew 4. I may regret leaving, but I stated once that I have other irons in the fire and my plans weren't to stay with MPC to [sic] long.
At this time I've taken a partnership in a business that will need both of us running it. I thank you and MPC for giving me this ...

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