Walsh v. William W. Backus Hospital
The Appellate Court in the 2008 case of Mankus v. Mankus established that when a litigant seeks pursuant to Administrative Regulation §31-301-9 to present previously unconsidered evidence directly to the Compensation Review Board, the moving party must establish good cause. Tina Walsh appealed from the finding and dismissal dismissing her claim for benefits for a knee injury arguing that the trial commissioner failed to credit evidence supportive of compensability. The Compensation Review Board affirmed the finding and dismissal concluding that the decision was based on the trier's evaluation of the claimant's credibility and the persuasiveness of the medical evidence on her behalf. The board declined to second guess the decision of the trier of fact. The board also denied the claimant's motion to admit additional evidence. The claimant sought to have admitted before the board a report generated by her treating physician contravening his earlier treatment notes. The board was not satisfied that the claimant could not have elicited the relevant information from her treating physician prior to the record closing in the formal hearing. The board pointed to its decision in the 2006 case of Ben-Eli v. Lowe's Home Improvement Center and quoted that "[o]ne can only expect the trier of fact to render a decision based on what evidence actually says, not what it should have said." The earlier treatment record specifically stated that the claimant denied any history of prior knee injuries. The commissioner found the claimant's testimony at the formal hearing was inconsistent with this medical history provided to her treating physician. The trial commissioner did not find the claimant's testimony credible. The determination of witness credibility means the trial commissioner may reasonably conclude any medical evidence which relied on the claimant's narrative to be unreliable. The commissioner reasonably could find the claimant failed in her burden of persuasion.