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Keith v. Indiana Bell

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 6, 2014

ERIC KEITH, Appellant/Plaintiff,
v.
INDIANA BELL, Appellee/Defendant

Editorial Note:

These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).

APPEAL FROM THE FULL WORKER'S COMPENSATION BOARD OF INDIANA. Application No. C-206899.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: HEATHER FALKS, T. REG HESSELGRAVE, Palguta Falks & Hesselgrave, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: BRIDGET A. ZEIER, MARTIN T. SPIEGEL, Spiegel & Cahill P.C., Hinsdale, Illinois.

VAIDIK, Chief Judge. RILEY, J., and MAY, J., concur.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM DECISION - NOT FOR PUBLICATION

VAIDIK, Chief Judge.

Case Summary

Eric Keith appeals the Worker's Compensation Board's ("the Board") decision that he was not entitled to additional benefits under the Indiana Worker's Compensation Act. He contends that the Board's determination that he was not permanently and totally disabled was unsupported bye the evidence. Finding that the Board's determination was supported by the evidence, we affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

Keith was working as a connection technician in October 2008 for Indiana Bell. One of its customers in Centerton, Indiana, did not have internet service. Because the house had old wiring, Keith needed to go into a crawl space to retrieve a wire. After retrieving the wire, he attempted to exit the crawl space on his back. As he was trying to exit, he "felt something, like somebody shot [him] in the back with a red hot poker. [He] felt a lightning strike down [his] leg." Tr. p. 8. He then rolled over and tried to pull himself out of the crawl space. As he did so, he "felt a loud pop in [his] lower back." Id. Keith was eventually able to retrieve his cell phone and called a co-worker, who called 911. Keith was removed from the area on a stretcher.

As a result of his injuries, Keith sought treatment from Dr. Derron Wilson, Dr. Michael Burt, and Dr. Eric Potts.[1] Keith had several surgeries to correct the problem in his back. In February 2009, he had surgery to remove a herniated disk on the right side of his spine at L4-5 and L5-S1. Two months later, Keith had another surgery to remove a herniated disk at T8-9 on the right portion of his spine. In October 2009, a single lead spinal stimulator was implanted in Keith's back, resulting in a ninety-percent improvement during the trial period. Appellant's App. p. 2. One month later, a spinal-cord stimulator was permanently implanted. Dr. Wilson placed Keith on maximum medical improvement in December 2009.

Indiana Bell then requested that Keith see Dr. Rick Sasso. Dr. Sasso found no evidence of ongoing neurologic abnormalities and recommended that Keith should " progress his activities as tolerated including a return to gainful employment . . . ." Tr. p. 36. However, Dr. Sasso noted that he believed Keith ...


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