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Walls v. Travelers Indemnity Co.

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

January 17, 1996

JACQUI WALLS Petitioner
v.
TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY Respondent/Insurer for BMC WEST/POULSEN'S INCORPORATED A Montana Corporation Employer.

          Submitted: January 10, 1996

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND JUDGMENT

          MIKE McCARTER, JUDGE

         Summary: 42-year old cashier claimed hurting her back while carrying a lawn ornament to a customer's car. The customer and other witnesses contradicted claimant's testimony.

         Held: WCC did not credit testimony of claimant, but credited testimony of others indicating she did not injure her back at work.

         Topics:

         Injury and Accident: Accident. WCC did not credit testimony of 42-year old cashier that she injure her back carrying a lawn ornament to a customer's car. Several witnesses gave testimony contradicting that of claimant.

         The trial in this matter was held on January 10, 1996, in Great Falls, Montana. Petitioner, Jacqui Walls (claimant), was present and represented by Mr. Jeff R. Lynch. Respondent, Travelers Indemnity Company, was represented by Mr. Kirk D. Evenson.

         Exhibits 1 through 4 and 6 through 8 were admitted without objection. Exhibit 5 was admitted for the limited purpose of showing the disciplinary notices given to claimant by her employer prior to her report of an industrial injury. Claimant, Carol LaRocque, Zane Carter, Chase Walls, Linda Wilson, Vince Miranti, Van Crowe, Dennis Olson, Robert Bradley and Roxanne Dane were sworn and testified. Additionally, the depositions of claimant, Van Crowe, Vincent Miranti and Chase Walls were submitted for the Court's consideration.

         Issues presented: The claimant seeks a determination that on June 2, 1994, she suffered a back injury in the course and scope of her employment and that she is, therefore, entitled to benefits under the Workers' Compensation Act. At this time, the parties seek only a determination of liability; the Court is not asked to determine what amount of benefits are due if the claimant's condition is found to be compensable.

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

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. Claimant is 42 years old. She has resided in Great Falls, Montana most of her adult life. She has a 20 year old son, Chase Walls, who testified on her behalf.

         2. Claimant began working as a cashier for BMC West/Poulsen's, Inc., on October 4, 1993. With the exception of a short period of time when she answered phones, claimant worked as a cashier. Her job duties included ringing up sales, doing paperwork, dealing with returned items, and cleaning when things were slow.

         3. Claimant was primarily stationed at the cashier's stand. She occasionally left the cashier's station to retrieve invoices and, ...


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