Wilson v. Costco Wholesale Corporation
Marandino v. Prometheus Pharmacy, a 2010 Connecticut Supreme Court decision, stands for the proposition that a trial commissioner may "consider medical evidence along with all other evidence to determine whether an injury is related to the employment." The trial commissioner found the following facts. Tricia Wilson worked for Costco Wholesale Corporation when, while standing on her tip toes, she put a heavy object into a machine. After sitting down, she stood up and felt a crack in her foot and felt like she stepped on a spike. She continued working. She previously had foot aches but had worse pain after this incident. Wilson eventually underwent two surgeries, the first for a bunion and mid-foot exostosis and the second for a torn posterior tibial tendon. She filed a workers' compensation claim after learning her medical insurance would not pay for her second surgery. The trial commissioner concluded that the claimant's testimony was persuasive that she did not initially report the injury for fear of losing her job and the accident occurred in the manner described. The commissioner found the opinion of the commissioner's examiner, Dr. Enzo Sella, credible and persuasive that the partial tear of the posterior tibial tendon was most likely related to the work incident and the described mechanism of injury was consistent with some partial tear. Based on the totality of the evidence, the commissioner found the foot injury compensable and a substantial factor in the claimant's need for two surgeries and related treatment. The respondents appealed. The Compensation Review Board affirmed the finding and award. The respondent essentially contended that the claimant's narrative of her mechanism of injury was insufficient to prove causation of a compensable injury. The respondent cited the board's 2012 decision in Loehfelm v. Stratford Board of Education, sustaining the trial commissioner's conclusion that the claimant's injury was only "contemporaneously or coincidently with the employment." However, here, the commissioner was persuaded by the claimant's evidence. The commissioner found the claimant's explanation persuasive that her foot injury occurred at work and Dr. Sella opined that the described mechanism of injury was most likely responsible for the tendon's tear. This constituted a sufficient quantum of probative evidence under Marandino.