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Suzor v. International Paper Co.

Court of Workers Compensation of Montana

September 27, 2017

CHARLOTTE SUZOR Petitioner
v.
INTERNATIONAL PAPER CO. Respondent/Insurer.

          Submitted: September 12, 2017

          FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND JUDGMENT

          DAVID M. SANDLER JUDGE.

         Summary: Petitioner alleges that the injuries to her knees, for which Respondent previously accepted liability, caused one of her knees to give way while she was inside her home, which, in turn, caused her to fall and break her right wrist. She seeks medical benefits for her broken wrist. Respondent denied liability for her broken wrist, relying on claimant's medical record which states she fell because she slipped on ice.

         Held: Respondent is not liable for claimant's right-wrist fracture because Petitioner failed to prove that her fall occurred as a result of her knee instability. Petitioner's testimony did not convince this Court that her medical record was incorrect.

         ¶ 1 The trial in this matter was held on September 12, 2017, in Missoula. Petitioner Charlotte Suzor was present and represented by Rex Palmer. Leo Ward represented Respondent International Paper Co. (International Paper).

         ¶ 2 Exhibits: This Court admitted Exhibits 12 through 15, 17, and 22 through 25 without objection. This Court overruled Liberty's disclosure and exchange objections to Exhibits 1 through 11 and 16 and admitted them. Suzor withdrew Exhibits 19, 20, and 21. There is no Exhibit 18 because Suzor did not offer any exhibit for impeachment or rebuttal.

         ¶ 3 Witnesses and Depositions: Charlotte Suzor and Joan Bond-Deschamps, PA-C, were sworn and testified at trial.

         ¶ 4 Issues Presented: The following issue is before this Court:

Is International Paper liable for medical benefits for Suzor's January 2016 right-wrist injury?

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         ¶ 5 This Court finds the following facts based on a preponderance of the evidence.

         ¶ 6 Suzor suffered an industrial accident on April 1, 1982, which resulted in injuries to her knees.

         ¶ 7 International Paper accepted liability for her claim.

         ¶ 8 As a result of her 1982 injuries, Suzor has suffered instability in her knees resulting in falls, which she reported to her healthcare providers.

         ¶ 9 In 2009, as a result of one of these falls, Suzor broke her hip. Michael W. Woods, MD, at ...


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