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Marcott v. Louisiana Pacific Corp.

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

December 7, 1994

BRUCE MARCOTT Petitioner
v.
LOUISIANA PACIFIC CORPORATION Respondent/Employer

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND JUDGMENT

          Mike McCarter Judge

         Summary: While mechanic was rushing to fix a forklift, he turned sharply on his left foot, and an unusual amount of force caused his left calf muscle to rupture. Employer contended the injury was not compensable because claimant was merely walking, which did not amount to an unexpected, traumatic incident or an unusual strain.

         Held: Crediting claimant's testimony that he was rushing and turned sharply, the Court finds an unusual strain making the injury compensable. Where a legitimate factual dispute existed over whether claimant was merely walking or walking rapidly and turning, the employer's denial of compensability was not unreasonable. Attorneys fees and penalty were denied.

         Topics:

Constitutions, Statutes, Regulations, and Rules: Montana Code Annotated: section 39-71-2907, MCA (1993). Crediting mechanic's testimony that he was rushing and turned sharply, placing unusual strain on his calf muscle, the Court finds ruptured calf muscle compensable. Where a legitimate factual dispute existed over whether claimant was merely walking or walking rapidly and turning, the employer's denial of compensability was not unreasonable. Attorneys fees and penalty were denied. Penalty: Insurers. Crediting mechanic's testimony that he was rushing and turned sharply, placing unusual strain on his calf muscle, the Court finds ruptured calf muscle compensable. Where a legitimate factual dispute existed over whether claimant was merely walking or walking rapidly and turning, the employer's denial of compensability was not unreasonable. Attorneys fees and penalty were denied.
Injury and Accident: Unexpected Strain or Injury. Crediting mechanic's testimony that he was rushing and turned sharply, placing unusual strain on his calf muscle, the Court finds ruptured calf muscle compensable.

         The trial in this matter was held on November 21, 1994, in Missoula, Montana. Petitioner, Bruce Marcott (claimant), was present and represented by Mr. Chris J. Ragar. Respondent, Louisiana Pacific Corporation (LP), was represented by Mr. Kelly M. Wills. Claimant testified on his own behalf. Gene Quillen, Donald Harrell, M.D., Steve Golden, Bart Davis, Bill Fleming and John Mikkelson also testified. The depositions of Bruce Marcott, Kim Marcott, John Mikkelson, John Campbell, M.D., David King, M.D., Bill Fleming, Matt Harris, and records custodians for various health care providers were submitted for the Court's consideration. Exhibits 1, 2 and 4 through 8 were admitted. Exhibit 3, pages 10, 16, 18 and 20 were admitted for consideration of the penalty issue only. The remainder of Exhibit 3 was admitted for all purposes.

         Bench Ruling

         At the close of trial Judge McCarter entered a bench ruling that claimant suffered a compensable injury under the Workers' Compensation Act, and that he is entitled to costs but not to a penalty or attorney fees.

         Having considered the Final Pretrial Order, the testimony presented at trial, the demeanor and credibility of the witnesses appearing at trial, the exhibits and depositions, the Court makes the following:

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. At the time of claimant's injury he was the head mechanic for LP and had been in that position for over eight years.

         2. On February 17, 1994, claimant was rushing to fix a forklift. At the time of the injury, he was walking rapidly and turning sharply to the left on his left foot. This activity placed an unusual amount of force on claimant's leg. The unusual amount of force caused the gastrocnemius muscle in his left calf to rupture.

         3. Claimant called Matt Harris, green-end superintendent for LP, and told him that he injured his leg and that he was just walking when it happened. When Bart Davis, the plant and maintenance superintendent at LP asked claimant what happened, claimant responded that he was just walking and his leg gave out. Claimant reported to Dr. Jackson on the day of the injury that he was just walking and felt something snap. (Ex.1E at ...


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