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Evansville Courier Co. v. Uziekalla

Court of Appeals of Indiana

August 9, 2017

Evansville Courier Company, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
Mary Beth Uziekalla, Appellee-Plaintiff.

         Appeal from the Indiana Worker's Compensation Board The Honorable Linda Peterson Hamilton, Chair Application No. C-229777

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT Steven K. Hahn Mollie E. Briles Ziemer Stayman Weitzel & Shoulders, L.L.P. Evansville, Indiana.

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE Nathan B. Maudlin Klezmer Maudlin, P.C. New Harmony, Indiana.

          MATHIAS, JUDGE.

         [¶1] In this appeal from a decision of the Indiana Worker's Compensation Board ("the Board") in favor of the employee Mary Beth Uziekalla ("Uziekalla"), the employer Evansville Courier Company ("Courier") claims the Board reversibly erred by rejecting one of the parties' stipulations without notice and by admitting Uziekalla's doctor's opinion on the cause of her injury.

         [¶2] We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural Posture

         [¶3] Uziekalla injured her neck while lifting newspapers for Courier in 2008. She was treated by Dr. David Weaver ("Weaver"), a neurosurgeon, and filed a worker's compensation claim on November 17, 2008. That claim was settled by a mediated agreement that was accepted by the Board on December 12, 2011 ("the settlement agreement"). Before the settlement agreement was accepted, Uziekalla received an independent medical examination from Dr. Robert Vraney ("Vraney"), an orthopedic surgeon.

         [¶4] The settlement agreement provided for lump-sum payments to Uziekalla for her permanent partial impairment as rated by Weaver, temporary total disability, and attorney's fees. In exchange, Uziekalla would dismiss her claim and waive further physician review. But the settlement agreement did allow for a claim for change of condition:

5. In the event that [Uziekalla] alleges a change of condition or increased [permanent partial impairment rating] within the time period allowed by statute, the parties agree and stipulate that a medical opinion on whether [Uziekalla] suffered a compensable change in condition proximately resulting from the workplace injury of [2008], or has suffered a compensable increased [permanent partial impairment rating] proximately resulting from the workplace injury of [2008], shall be obtained in the following order from:
a) [Vraney]
b) If either party objects to [Vraney] (which said objection need not be made for cause), then the parties shall confer and select a mutually agreeable medical doctor.
c) If the parties, upon conferral, are unable to select a medical doctor, then [the Board] shall appoint a physician for ...

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