FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND
trial in the above-entitled matter was held on Wednesday,
February 16, 1994, in Helena, Montana. The Honorable Mike
McCarter, Judge of the Workers' Compensation Court,
presided. Petitioner, Crystal Tempel (claimant) was present
and represented by her attorney, Mr. Thomas A. Budewitz.
Respondent, National Union Fire Insurance of Pittsburgh, was
represented by Mr. Oliver H. Goe.
Pretrial Order was agreed to between the parties and adopted
by this Court. As reflected herein, there were no uncontested
facts. The parties proposed and this Court adopted the
following issues for determination:
Whether Petitioner suffered a compensable industrial injury
arising out of and in the course of her employment on January
28, 1993, while working for R.G.I.S. Inventory Specialists.
Petitioner suffered an accident on January 28, 1993, arising
out of and in the course of her employment with R.G.I.S.
Inventory Specialists, were her subsequent medical expenses
related to such accident.
Whether Petitioner is entitled to costs.
commencement of trial and consistent with the rules of the
Court, the parties agreed and stipulated that the depositions
of Crystal Tempel, Tom Tempel, Barb Tewmey, Patricia Hanon,
and Dr. Finney were to be admitted into evidence and
considered part of the record. Exhibit Nos. 1 through 5
consisting of the medical reports and records of Dr. Wienert
and Dr. Finney, St. Peter's Hospital and Dr. Gorsuch, as
well as a summary of medical expenses were admitted into
evidence without objection. Exhibit Nos. 6 through 10,
including the diary of Crystal Tempel, the daily log of
Patricia Hanon, the Employer's First Report, Report to
Walt Kelly from Patricia Hanon, and an April 16, 1993 letter
from ALEXSIS to Crystal Tempel were objected to by the
claimant on the grounds of hearsay and relevance. Such
objections were overruled and the exhibits were admitted into
evidence. Crystal Tempel, Tom Tempel, Lorie Wallace and
Patricia Hanon were all sworn and testified.
close of trial, and having had the opportunity to personally
hear from all the witnesses and to review all relevant
evidence including depositions, this Court entered a bench
ruling for respondent finding that it did not believe
Tempel's claim of a work-related accident occurring on
January 28, 1993. The Court requested respondent to prepare
proposed findings of fact consistent with the bench ruling.
Having received and considered the proposed findings, this
Court now enters the following Findings of Fact, Conclusions
of Law and Judgment.
Claimant began working for R.G.I.S. Inventory Specialists, in
October, 1992. R.G.I.S. is also known as "Marketing
Force," and will be called by that name in the findings
Through its employees, Marketing Force sets up and stocks
manufacturers' displays in retail stores throughout
Montana and other states. Claimant's job was to set up
and stock manufacturers' displays at various retailers in
the Helena area.
the time of claimant's initial employment by Marketing
Force, she had a history of back problems. She had undergone
a laminectomy in June of 1992.
Claimant alleges that on January 28, 1993, she suffered a
further back injury while stocking a Muppet Babies display at
the Helena K-Mart store. She testified that while working at
K-Mart she reached overhead for a box and fell backwards; she
immediately felt pain in her back and down into her leg.
There were no witnesses.
January 28, 1993, Marketing Force was insured by National
Union Fire Insurance of Pittsburgh, which has responded to