JAMES A. WILKERSON APPELLANT
KIMBALL INTERNATIONAL, INC; DR. DAVID P. ROUBEN; HON. GRANT S. ROARK, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE; ANDWORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD APPELLEES
APPEAL FROM COURT OF APPEALS CASE NO. 2018-CA-000561
WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD NO. 12-WC-85251
COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Abram V. Conway II Conway & Keown
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE, KIMBALL INTERNATIONAL, INC.: Judson
Fuller Devlin Fulton 85 Devlin, LLC
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE, WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD:
Michael W. Alvey Workers' Compensation Board
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE, HON. GRANT S. ROARK, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW
JUDGE: Honorable Grant Stewart Roark Administrative Law Judge
COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE, DR. DAVID P. ROUBEN: Dr. David P.
Rouben Pro se
matter arose after the appellant, James A. Wilkerson,
sustained a back injury while working for the appellee,
Kimball International, Inc. ("Kimball"). Wilkerson
filed a claim with the Department of Workers' Claims, and
a hearing was held on his claim. The Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ") awarded Wilkerson temporary total
disability, permanent partial disability, and medical
benefits for a back strain he sustained while working for
Kimball. The ALJ denied benefits for a knee injury and two
back surgeries, finding they were not causally related to his
employment, and therefore not compensable. Wilkerson appealed
the denial of benefits. The Workers' Compensation Board
("Board") affirmed the ALJ, and the Court of
Appeals affirmed the Board. We, likewise, affirm the Court of
was employed by Kimball on April 4, 2012 when he sustained an
alleged work-related back injury. He was lifting a large
bookcase when he felt a pop in his low back and experienced a
burning sensation in his leg. He immediately reported the
injury to Kimball.
was first treated by Dr. Robert Byrd on April 16, 2012. He
reported injuring himself while lifting ten days prior. His
chief complaint was "low back pain" that radiated
into his left leg. Dr. Byrd diagnosed Wilkerson with a
"Lumbar Spasm, " ordered conservative treatment
including physical therapy, and indicated that he could
return to work on April 19, 2012. On April 26, 2012,
Wilkerson returned to Dr. Byrd's office still complaining
of "low back pain" that radiated into his left leg.
Dr. Byrd diagnosed him with acute low back pain and
eventually ordered an MRI. Wilkerson did not report left knee
pain to Dr. Byrd.
29, 2012, Wilkerson underwent an MRI that revealed mild disc
bulging at L3-4 and no evidence of nerve root compression.
When this MRI was compared to a 2006 MRI of Wilkerson's
back, no additional prominence in the disc bulge was noted.
Wilkerson continued to see Dr. Byrd until July 2012, when Dr.
Byrd referred him to Dr. Eric Goebel, a neurosurgeon.
3, 2012, Wilkerson saw Dr. Goebel, complaining of lower back
pain radiating into' his left leg. He told Dr. Goebel
that the pain began approximately three months earlier when
he was lifting a cabinet and felt a "pop" in his
back. Dr. Goebel assessed that Wilkerson had left lower
extremity radicular symptoms, although the MRI revealed no
evidence of a herniated disc or nerve root issue. Dr. Goebel
noted that Wilkerson's "lower extremity symptoms are
improving with physical therapy as well as some of the back
pain." Dr. Goebel recommended that Wilkerson continue
with physical therapy and remain off work for three
additional weeks. Dr. Goebel indicated that there was no
basis for back surgery for Wilkerson.
testified that he continued with physical therapy, and on
July 12, 2012, while performing squats as part of his at-home
physical therapy, he felt a "pop" in his left knee.
He sought treatment at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. To
the hospital, Wilkerson reported that he sat down after
performing his ...