Submitted: December 20, 2013
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART RESPONDENT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
JAMES JEREMIAH SHEA, JUDGE
Summary: Respondent moves for summary judgment on two issues: (1) With respect to Respondent's denial of medical bills and travel expenses associated with treatment Petitioner received in 2011, Respondent contends that Petitioner failed to timely file her petition pursuant to § 39-71-2905, MCA. (2) With respect to Petitioner's claim for TPD benefits, Respondent contends that Petitioner is not entitled to these benefits because she has not suffered a wage loss.
Held: With respect to Respondent's denial of medical bills and travel expenses associated with the treatment Petitioner received in 2011, Respondent's motion is denied. The statute of limitations for Petitioner's claim commenced when Respondent denied her claim for benefits and Petitioner filed her petition within two years of Respondent's denial in accordance with § 39-71-2905, MCA. With respect to Petitioner's claim for TPD benefits, Respondent's motion is granted. Petitioner has not suffered a wage loss as a result of her injury and is therefore not entitled to TPD benefits pursuant to § 39-71-712, MCA.
¶ 1 Respondent Montana Schools Group Insurance Authority (MSGIA) moves this Court for summary judgment on two issues. First, MSGIA contends that Petitioner Laurie Nelson failed to timely file her Petition for Hearing in this Court relative to her request for payment of medical and travel expenses associated with her treatment by Dr. William Bugbee, and her claim is therefore time-barred pursuant to § 39-71-2905, MCA. Second, MSGIA contends that Nelson is not entitled to temporary partial disability (TPD) benefits pursuant to § 39-71-712, MCA, because Nelson's current wage is higher than her time-of-injury wage.
¶ 2 Nelson opposes MSGIA's motion on both issues. Regarding her treatment with Dr. Bugbee, Nelson contends that her petition was timely filed. Regarding her claim for TPD benefits, Nelson contends that facts in dispute preclude summary judgment.
¶ 3 For the reasons discussed below, MSGIA's motion as it pertains to Nelson's treatment with Dr. Bugbee is denied. MSGIA's motion as it pertains to Nelson's claim for TPD benefits is granted.
Uncontroverted Material Facts
¶ 4 On August 17, 2005, Nelson, who was both a teacher and the volleyball coach, fell off the side of a box while coaching and dislocated her left ankle.
¶ 5 MSGIA accepted Nelson's claim.
¶ 6 At the time of the injury, Nelson was making $32, 135 per year.
¶ 7 In addition, for the 2005-2006 school year, Nelson received a $3, 612 stipend for being the softball coach, a $2, 070 stipend for being the assistant volleyball coach, and a $310 stipend for being a class sponsor.
¶ 8 Nelson also earned stipends in the 2004-2005 school year. She received $645 for the assistant volleyball coach position, $3, 491 for the softball coach position, and $284 for being a class advisor.
¶ 9 Nelson initially treated with Gregory M. Behm, M.D., and eventually began seeing Michael R. Yorgason, M.D.
¶ 10 Nelson continued to have persistent ankle pain and swelling, and on November 28, 2006, Dr. Yorgason referred Nelson to William D. Bugbee, M.D.
¶ 11 Nelson began treating with Dr. Bugbee with an initial evaluation on January 12, 2007.
¶ 12 Nelson underwent a left medial hamitalus osteochondral allograft, placement, and removal of external fixation device and lateral ankle reconstruction ...