Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Senter v. Fabricators

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 12, 2019

Gina Senter, Appellant-Plaintiff,
v.
Foremost Fabricators, Appellee-Defendant.

          Appeal from the Worker's Compensation Board of Indiana The Honorable Linda Peterson, Hamilton Chairman of Worker's Compensation Board of Indiana Application No. C-232196

          Attorney for Appellant Kevin L. Likes Auburn, Indiana

          Attorney for Appellee Peter J. Bagiackas South Bend, Indiana

          Tavitas, Judge.

         Case Summary

         [¶1] Gina Senter appeals the Indiana Worker's Compensation Board's (the "Board") order, which granted Senter permanent partial impairment benefits totaling $12, 880.00. We reverse and remand.

         Issue

         [¶2] The single issue on appeal is whether the Board erred in calculating Senter's award pursuant to Indiana Code Section 22-3-3-10 (the "Statute") after finding Senter required surgery to amputate her left small finger and the outside portion of her hand due to a workplace injury.

         Facts

         [¶3] On April 29, 2014, Senter sustained an injury while working at her place of employment, Foremost Fabricators, LLC ("Foremost"). Senter's "left little finger (i.e. 5th digit on the left hand) got caught between two rollers on a roller machine." Appellant's App. Vol. II p. 15. The same day, Foremost selected Dr. David Cutcliffe to evaluate and treat Senter. After evaluating Senter, Dr. Cutcliffe "recommended a fingertip amputation to restore finger function to the left little finger." Id. at 16. Dr. Cutcliffe performed surgery the same day and amputated the top portion of Senter's finger.

         [¶4] Dr. Cutcliffe again evaluated Senter on May 20, 2014, and found that, although Senter's incision was "clean and dry, [with] no evidence of infection," Senter "may still need a revision amputation due to the poor vascularity of the small finger." Id. A week later, on May 27, 2014, at a follow-up appointment, Dr. Cutcliffe found that the "remaining end" on Senter's left little finger needed a revision amputation. Dr. Cutcliffe "further opined that he would consider a ray amputation if the PIP joint of the small finger [could not] be preserved." Id. at 17 (internal quotations omitted).

         [¶5] On May 30, 2014, Senter returned for the revision amputation, and Dr. Cutcliffe performed a "revision amputation small left finger with ray amputation."[1] Id. On September 23, 2014, at a follow-up office visit, Dr. Cutcliffe found that Senter "had achieved Maximum Medical Improvement with respect to her revision amputation little finger, ray amputation" and completed a "dismemberment chart." Id. Dr. Cutcliffe's "impairment assessment" also states that: "Patient has a 100% permanent partial impairment of the left little finger which converts to 10% of the hand. . . ." Id. at 31.

         [¶6] After the April 29, 2014 accident, the parties disagreed regarding the "percentage of permanent partial impairment" Senter sustained on her hand, "and accordingly, what amount of Permanent Partial Impairment benefits" Senter was entitled to receive from Foremost as a result of her injuries. Id. Importantly, Senter argued that a "ray amputation included the removal of the bone along the left side of the left hand clear to the wrist joint." Id. at 20. Therefore, according to Senter, she was entitled to an award for one-third loss of her hand.

         [¶7] On November 3, 2015, Senter filed her application for adjustment of claim before the single hearing member of the Board (the "SHM"). Senter sought an award of $65, 400.00 as a result of her injuries. On September 25, 2018, the SHM issued his order. The SHM found that Senter was entitled to an award of $12, 880.00. The SHM reached this conclusion as follows:

7.[ ] The pre-operative and post-operative diagnoses were: "amputation of left small finger." The operative procedure performed was: "Revision amputation left small finger with ray amputation."
8.On September 23, 2014, Dr. Cutcliffe evaluated Plaintiff at an office visit. On that occasion, Dr. Cutcliffe opined that plaintiff had achieved Maximum Medical Improvement with respect to her revision amputation little finger, ray amputation. On that occasion, Dr. Cutcliffe completed a "Dismemberment Chart" evidencing the precise location of the amputation that took place in the ray procedure.
11.As a consequence of the ray procedure to Plaintiff's left hand performed on May 30, 2014 by Dr. Cutcliffe, Plaintiff sustained permanent partial impairment of thirteen (13) percent to the left hand [thirteen percent impairment was proposed by Foremost in a filing]. [Pursuant to Indiana Code Section 22-3-3-10(i)(1), the separation "of the hand by separation below the elbow joint, [equals] forty (40) degrees of permanent impairment."] Thirteen percent permanent partial impairment of the hand equals 5.2 degrees of the hand (40 degrees x .13), and given Plaintiff's date of accident, that equals $7, 280 worth of permanent partial impairment benefits (5.2 degrees x $1, 400 per degree).
12.Given Plaintiff's date of accident, the doubling provision for loss of the left little finger related to permanent partial impairment benefits applies to Plaintiff's injury sustained in the Work-Related Accident of April 29, 2014. The permanent partial impairment rating sustained by Plaintiff to her left hand as a consequence of the ray procedure includes impairment for the amputation of the left little finger. Accordingly, in light of the doubling provision, an additional four (4) degrees needs to be added to Plaintiff's permanent partial impairment benefits for loss of the left little finger by ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.