Mountain City Meat Co. v. Oqueda, Nos. 95SC246

Docket NºNos. 95SC246
Citation919 P.2d 246
Case DateJune 24, 1996
CourtSupreme Court of Colorado

Page 246

919 P.2d 246
MOUNTAIN CITY MEAT CO. and Colorado Compensation Insurance
Authority, Petitioners,
v.
Emiliano OQUEDA and The Industrial Claim Appeals Office of
the State of Colorado, Respondents.
DeWITT TRANSPORTATION and Colorado Compensation Insurance
Authority, Petitioners,
v.
The INDUSTRIAL CLAIM APPEALS OFFICE OF the STATE OF COLORADO
and Chalmers Shropshire, Respondents.
HEATING & PLUMBING ENGINEERS and Nationwide/Wausau
Insurance, Petitioners,
v.
John R. MONACHELLI and The Industrial Claim Appeals Office
of the Department of Labor of the State of
Colorado, Respondents.
WCS, INC., d/b/a Wendy's of Colorado Springs, Inc. and
Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority, Petitioners,
v.
INDUSTRIAL CLAIM APPEALS OFFICE and Renee M. Hernandez, Respondents.
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE and Colorado Compensation Insurance
Authority, Petitioners,
v.
Joseph C. DUROCHER and Industrial Claim Appeals Office of
the State of Colorado, Respondents.
Nos. 95SC246, 95SC329, 95SC373, 95SC432 and 95SC476.
Supreme Court of Colorado,
En Banc.
June 24, 1996.

Page 247

Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority, Curt Kriksciun, Michael J. Steiner, Carolyn A. Boyd, Denver, for Petitioners in Nos. 95SC246, 95SC432 and 95SC476.

Colorado Compensation Ins. Authority, Carolyn A. Boyd, Curt Kriksciun, Denver, for Petitioners in No. 95SC329.

Gordon & Macdonald, P.C., William J. Macdonald, Denver, for Amicus Curiae Workers' Compensation Education Association in Nos. 95SC246, 95SC329, 95SC373, 95SC432 and 95SC476.

Jean E. Dubofsky, P.C., Jean E. Dubofsky, Boulder, Pepe J. Mendez & Associates, P.C., Pepe J. Mendez, Denver, for respondent Emiliano Oqueda in No. 95SC246.

Ritsema & Lyon, P.C., Fredric A. Ritsema, Michael A. Perales, Joel M. Pollack, Denver, for Petitioners Heating & Plumbing Engineers and Nationwide/Wausau Ins. in No. 95SC373.

Law Office of Cynthia M. Pring, Kathleen W. Robinson, Colorado Springs, Diane M. Astourian, Denver, for Respondent John R. Monachelli in No. 95SC373.

Pribila & Sokolow, P.C., Anthony L. Sokolow, Colorado Springs, for Respondent Renee M. Hernandez in No. 95SC432.

Page 248

No appearance on behalf of Respondents Industrial Claim Appeals Office of State of Colo. and Chalmers Shropshire in No. 95SC329.

No appearance on behalf of Respondent Industrial Claim Appeals Office of Department of Labor of State of Colo. in No. 95SC373.

No appearance on behalf of Respondent Industrial Claim Appeals Office in No. 95SC432.

No appearance on behalf of Respondents Joseph C. Durocher and Industrial Claim Appeals Office of State of Colo. in No. 95SC476.

Justice HOBBS delivered the Opinion of the Court.

These consolidated appeals present the issue of whether an enumerated injury arising under the schedule in section 8-42-107(2), 3B C.R.S. (1995 Supp.), which is accompanied by a permanent medical impairment arising under section 8-42-107(8), 3B C.R.S. (1995 Supp.), must be converted to a whole person rating and compensated under section 8-42-107(8), when calculating permanent disability.

We granted certiorari in Mountain City Meat Co. & Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office & Oqueda, 904 P.2d 1333 (Colo.App.1995); DeWitt Transportation & Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office & Shropshire, No. 94CE0033, (Colo.App. April 6, 1995) (not selected for official publication); WCS, Inc. & Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office & Hernandez, No. 94CA1992, (Colo.App. May 4, 1995) (not selected for official publication); Durocher v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office & Department of Revenue & Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority, 905 P.2d 4 (Colo.App.1995); and Monachelli v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office & Heating & Plumbing Engineers & Nationwide/Wausau Ins., No. 94CE0020, (Colo.App. April 6, 1995) (not selected for official publication); to review the decisions of the court of appeals, holding that, when a work-related accident results in at least one injury that is rated as a percentage of whole-person impairment, all effects of that work-related accident are to be rated as a percentage of whole-person impairment. Petitioners, Colorado Compensation Insurance Authority (CCIA) and the employers, contend that extremity injuries must be assessed under the statutory schedule even when the person has also suffered a head, neck, or torso injury. We affirm the judgment of the court of appeals in all five cases.

I.

The issue in each of these appeals is identical. The operative facts of the cases are not in dispute.

A. Oqueda

On October 23, 1992, Emiliano Oqueda, a meat-cutter for Mountain City Meat Co., lifted a one-hundred pound slab of meat and suffered an injury to his neck and shoulder. He was initially sent to a chiropractor; after seeing a physician at Clinicare, Oqueda returned to work with restrictions.

In order to determine the degree of permanent impairment and the date of maximum medical improvement, 1 Oqueda was required to see an independent medical examiner (IME). 2 See § 8-42-107(8)(c). The IME determined that Oqueda's date of maximum medical improvement was April 20, 1993, and evaluated Oqueda under the

Page 249

applicable guidelines established by the Workers' Compensation Act of Colorado (the Workers' Compensation Act) to determine the degree of permanent impairment. Under the Workers' Compensation Act, injuries are generally divided into two categories: 1) injuries to extremities, which are entitled "scheduled injuries" and are rated as a percentage of injury to the extremity, section 8-42-107(2), 3B C.R.S. (1995 Supp.); and 2) injuries to the head, neck, and torso, which are rated as a percentage of injury to the whole person. § 8-42-107(8), 3B C.R.S. (1995 Supp.). Injuries to certain extremities, which are specified in section 8-42-107(8)(c.5), are also rated as a percentage of whole person impairment.

After the examination, the IME rated Oqueda's shoulder injury, a scheduled injury, as a three percent upper extremity impairment, and his neck injury, a non-scheduled injury, as a seven percent impairment of the whole person. In accordance with the American Medical Association Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (3d ed. 1990) 16 (AMA Guides), the IME converted the three percent upper extremity impairment rating to a two percent whole person impairment rating. The IME then combined the two figures, which resulted in a nine percent impairment of the whole person.

The CCIA admitted liability for permanent partial disability benefits based only on the three percent upper extremity impairment rating and the seven percent whole person impairment rating. Oqueda objected and the matter was brought before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). § 8-43-201, 3B C.R.S. (1995 Supp.).

The ALJ agreed with the IME's assessment and determined that, when a scheduled injury is accompanied by a non-scheduled injury, the scheduled injury must be converted to a whole person impairment rating. The CCIA appealed, and the Industrial Claim Appeals Office Panel (ICAO panel) affirmed the ALJ's determination. 3 On January 26, 1995, the court of appeals affirmed the order of the ICAO panel. Mountain City Meat Co. & Colo. Compensation Ins. Auth. v. Industrial Claim Appeals Office & Oqueda, 904 P.2d at 1334.

B. Shropshire

On March 3, 1992, while working as a furniture mover, Chalmers Shropshire slipped on a loading platform and fell. He landed on his head and shoulder and injured his neck and right arm. The authorized treating physician determined that Shropshire reached maximum medical improvement on January 10, 1993. In addition, the authorized treating physician assigned Shropshire's neck injury a whole person impairment rating of sixteen percent and assigned his right arm an upper extremity impairment rating of twenty-four percent. Using the AMA Guides, the authorized treating physician converted the twenty-four percent upper extremity impairment rating into a fourteen percent impairment of the whole person, and combined the two injuries into a twenty-eight percent impairment of the whole person.

The CCIA filed a Final Admission of Liability on May 18, 1993, admitting liability for benefits based on the sixteen percent whole person impairment rating for the neck injury and the fourteen percent upper extremity impairment rating for the shoulder injury. Shropshire objected to the CCIA's admission of liability and requested a hearing. The ALJ agreed with the CCIA and rejected the authorized treating physician's ratings. Thereafter, an ICAO panel modified the ALJ's order, holding that Shropshire was entitled to medical impairment benefits based upon a disability of twenty-eight percent impairment of a whole person. After review, the court of appeals affirmed the ICAO panel's ruling. DeWitt Transp. & Colo. Compensation Ins. Auth. v. Industrial

Page 250

Claim Appeals Office & Shropshire, slip op. at 1.

C. Hernandez

On May 16, 1992, Renee Hernandez, a shift manager at Wendy's, injured her neck and arm when she slipped on an uneven floor and submerged her right elbow in hot cooking oil at the fry station. She suffered nerve damage in her arm that precludes continuous repetitive motion and fine motor tasks. As a result of the damage to her arm, Hernandez developed a neck injury. After examining Hernandez, the authorized treating physician evaluated the injury to her arm as a thirty-one percent upper extremity impairment and converted it to a nineteen percent whole person impairment. He also evaluated her neck injury and found a four percent whole person impairment. He then combined the two impairment ratings and assigned Hernandez a twenty-two percent whole person impairment rating.

The ALJ accepted the authorized treating physician's rating and ruled that, an injury to an extremity could be given a whole person permanent medical impairment rating, if the injury had a whole body effect in terms of...

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42 practice notes
  • Hoeper v. Air Wis. Airlines Corp., No. 08CA1358.
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • November 12, 2009
    ...government employees with qualified immunity from tort suits if their conduct was not “willful and wanton.” City of Lakewood v. Brace, 919 P.2d at 246. That determination is for the jury. Id. Thus, on the one hand, the ATSA is different from the CGIA because the ATSA does not prohibit actio......
  • McDonald v. Wise, No. 13–1211.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 28, 2014
    ...to plausible, a claim that “an employee acted willfully and wantonly must await determination at trial on the merits.” Brace, 919 P.2d at 246. Mr. McDonald points to the first 77 paragraphs of his complaint and the six claim-specific paragraphs “reciting the specific defamation elements” as......
  • Robbins v. People, No. 03SC563.
    • United States
    • Colorado Supreme Court of Colorado
    • February 22, 2005
    ...In re 2000-2001 Dist. Grand Jury in and for First Jud. Dist., 97 P.3d 921, 924 (Colo.2004) (citing Mountain City Meat Co. v. Oqueda, 919 P.2d 246, 252-53 When the statute is unambiguous on its face, this Court need not look beyond the plain language, e.g., Frazier v. People, 90 P.3d 807, 81......
  • McDonald v. City of Denver, No. 13–1211.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 28, 2014
    ...to plausible, a claim that “an employee acted willfully and wantonly must await determination at trial on the merits.” Brace, 919 P.2d at 246. Mr. McDonald points to the first 77 paragraphs of his complaint and the six claim-specific paragraphs “reciting the specific defamation elements” as......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
42 cases
  • Hoeper v. Air Wis. Airlines Corp., 08CA1358.
    • United States
    • Colorado Court of Appeals of Colorado
    • November 12, 2009
    ...government employees with qualified immunity from tort suits if their conduct was not “willful and wanton.” City of Lakewood v. Brace, 919 P.2d at 246. That determination is for the jury. Id. Thus, on the one hand, the ATSA is different from the CGIA because the ATSA does not prohibit actio......
  • McDonald v. City of Denver, 13–1211.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 28, 2014
    ...to plausible, a claim that “an employee acted willfully and wantonly must await determination at trial on the merits.” Brace, 919 P.2d at 246. Mr. McDonald points to the first 77 paragraphs of his complaint and the six claim-specific paragraphs “reciting the specific defamation elements” as......
  • McDonald v. City of Denver, 13–1211.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 28, 2014
    ...to plausible, a claim that “an employee acted willfully and wantonly must await determination at trial on the merits.” Brace, 919 P.2d at 246. Mr. McDonald points to the first 77 paragraphs of his complaint and the six claim-specific paragraphs “reciting the specific defamation elements” as......
  • McDonald v. Wise, 13–1211.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 28, 2014
    ...to plausible, a claim that “an employee acted willfully and wantonly must await determination at trial on the merits.” Brace, 919 P.2d at 246. Mr. McDonald points to the first 77 paragraphs of his complaint and the six claim-specific paragraphs “reciting the specific defamation elements” as......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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