Submitted: May 2, 2005
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND
Claimant seeks workers' compensation benefits for a torn
meniscus in his knee, alleging he tore the meniscus at work.
Based on credibility questions arising as a result of
information furnished by the employer, the insurer denied
The Court finds the claimant credible and finds that he was
injured as alleged.
The trial in this matter was held in Helena, Montana, on May
2, 2004. Petitioner was present and represented by Mr. Chris
J. Ragar. Respondent was represented by Mr. Thomas J.
Exhibits: Exhibits 1 through 5, 7 through 22kk and
37 through 39 were admitted without objection. Exhibits 23
through 27, 29, and 31 through 35 were admitted over
objections. Exhibits 67, 28 and 30 were withdrawn. Exhibit 36
Witnesses and Depositions: Petitioner, Ross Wetzler,
Jo Heal, Debra Briese, Shane Briese, Sandra Haag, Kyle
Maloney, and Sandra Waldo testified at trial. In addition the
parties submitted the depositions of petitioner, Ross
Wetzler, Debra Briese, Shane Briese, Kyle Maloney, Sandra
Waldo, and Dr. John D. Campbell.
Issues Presented: As set forth in the Final
Pre-trial Order, the issues are as follows:
¶4a Whether Petitioner's August 30, 2004 alleged
injury is compensable under Montana's Workers'
¶4b Whether Petitioner is entitled to an award of costs
and attorneys fees.
¶4c Whether Petitioner is entitled to a 20% increase in
benefits as a penalty for alleged unreasonable delay and
denial of benefits.
(Final Pre-Trial Order at 2.)
Having considered the Final Pre-trial Order, the testimony
presented at trial, the demeanor and credibility of the
witnesses, the depositions and exhibits, and the arguments of
the parties, the Court makes the following: