Streeter v. Canton School Dist., No. 22748.

CourtSupreme Court of South Dakota
Writing for the CourtFULLER, Circuit.
Citation2004 SD 30,677 N.W.2d 221
PartiesDeanna STREETER, Claimant and Appellant, v. CANTON SCHOOL DISTRICT, Employer and Appellee, and Associated School Boards of South Dakota Worker's Compensation Trust Fund, Provider and Appellee.
Decision Date03 March 2004
Docket NumberNo. 22748.

677 N.W.2d 221
2004 SD 30

Deanna STREETER, Claimant and Appellant,
v.
CANTON SCHOOL DISTRICT, Employer and Appellee, and
Associated School Boards of South Dakota Worker's Compensation Trust Fund, Provider and Appellee

No. 22748.

Supreme Court of South Dakota.

Considered on Briefs October 7, 2003.

Decided March 3, 2004


677 N.W.2d 222
Stephanie E. Pochop of Johnson, Eklund, Nicholson, Peterson & Fox, Gregory, for appellant

Karla L. Engle of Tieszen Law Office, Pierre, for appellees.

FULLER, Circuit Judge.

[¶ 1.] Deanna Streeter (Streeter), appeals from a circuit court order denying workers' compensation benefits for total disability and medical care. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[¶ 2.] Streeter filed a workers' compensation claim. The Department of Labor (Department) awarded Streeter total disability benefits and ordered the Canton School District (Employer) to pay various claimed medical expenses. Employer appealed. Following a hearing before the Honorable Steven L. Zinter, the case was reversed and remanded to Department for further proceedings. Department entered amended findings of fact and conclusions of law denying Streeter's permanent total disability benefits but continuing the payment of certain medical expenses. Both Employer and Streeter appealed. The Honorable Lori S. Wilbur affirmed Department's denial of permanent total disability benefits and reversed Department's order requiring payment of additional medical expenses.

FACTS

[¶ 3.] While teaching a class with special needs students at school on April 18, 1996, Streeter strained her low back by catching an 80-pound student as he began to fall. Streeter was initially treated by Dr. Tieszen, a chiropractor, for an acute lumbar sprain and spasms. After two

677 N.W.2d 223
months of treatment resulted in no improvement, Dr. Tieszen referred her to an orthopedist

[¶ 4.] Streeter also saw Dr. Held, her family doctor, who documented Streeter's pain which sometimes incapacitated her. Dr. Held prescribed pain medications and pool therapy. He released her to light duty work in mid-May 1996, restricting her from lifting, pushing, shoving, bending, squatting and getting down on all fours.

[¶ 5.] Dr. MacRandall, the Chief of Orthopedics at Sioux Valley Hospital, began to see Streeter in July 1996. She complained of pain and difficulty with sitting, sleeping, tingling, numbness and weakness of her legs. Dr. MacRandall initially diagnosed her with low back strain and prescribed medication. Ultimately, he ordered an MRI which showed a mild lumbar disk bulge, moderate bilateral facet hypertrophy and moderate spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal cord. Dr. MacRandall opined that the stenosis predated the injury but was aggravated by Streeter's work incident. He testified that the April 1996 work injury was a major contributing cause to her disability impairment and need for treatment and that it was a permanent aggravation of her pre-existing condition. He believed that her complaints of pain, numbness and tingling were consistent with her diagnosis.

[¶ 6.] Streeter returned to Dr. MacRandall in November 1996 complaining of problems with standing, staying in one position, pain going down the right leg, numbness of her right heel and scapular pain. Dr. MacRandall testified that these conditions were consistent with his diagnosis. Streeter asked Dr. MacRandall about returning to work. He gave her some work limitations but instructed her to avoid activities that bothered her. In 1996 Dr. MacRandall concluded that Streeter could work four hours a day, advancing to eight over time, but should not lift more than fifteen pounds.

[¶ 7.] In January 1997 Dr. MacRandall referred Streeter to Dr. William Asfora, a neurologist. Streeter complained to him of her pain. Dr. Asfora agreed with Dr. MacRandall that Streeter had spinal stenosis which was aggravated by her work injury. Dr. Asfora gave her a fifteen pound weight restriction and thought she could do intermittent standing and sitting.

[¶ 8.] Dr. Asfora recommended surgery and Dr. MacRandall concurred that a decompression surgery of L4-5 with posterior fusion was appropriate as it would give her more space around her nerves and lessen her pain.

[¶ 9.] After another MRI, Dr. Asfora performed spinal surgery in February 1998. The procedure improved her sitting time but generally worsened Streeter's back pain.

[¶ 10.] Dr. Asfora and Dr. MacRandall found no indication that Streeter was malingering. A psychological evaluation was conducted by Dr. Hartman. Dr. Hartman performed the Minnesota Multi-Phasic Inventory (MMPI) and interviewed Streeter. He opined that Streeter was experiencing acute stress, but no malingering, exaggeration or misrepresentation was evident.

[¶ 11.] Neither Dr. MacRandall nor Dr. Asfora were able to specifically define Streeter's functional capacity. She was referred for evaluation of work abilities. In January 1998, physical therapist Scott Vandenbosch at McKennan Hospital attempted a Functional Capacities Examination (FCE), sometimes described as a Functional Capacity Analysis (FCA). The FCA was not completed because of Streeter's reported pain. Vandenbosch reported observations of objective findings. There were discrepancies between the pain

677 N.W.2d 224
Streeter reported and pain behaviors she exhibited. He observed, for example, that "pain behavior," both verbally and nonverbally, was not accompanied with typical alterations in body mechanics, substitutions of movement patterns or changes in body posture that are often seen with reports of significantly increased pain. Vandenbosch further found that in the three separate weight-lifting tests Streeter reported significant increased pain in performing these tests, yet her complaints were not accompanied by objective indications that she was reaching her maximum level of function. Vandenbosch concluded that Streeter self-limited her sitting and standing capabilities. She did not show any weight shifting, guarding, favoring of a body part, or other behavior which would indicate intolerance to static and prolonged standing and sitting. Vandenbosch observed Streeter self-limiting her walking abilities during the FCA, noting that she dragged her right foot during the walking test in a manner that appeared to be exaggerated and attention seeking. Streeter declined to complete the second...

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7 practice notes
  • Sioux Falls Shopping News v. Dept. of Rev., No. 24616.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 23 Abril 2008
    ...are definitely and firmly convinced a mistake has been committed, only then will we reverse.'" Id. (citing Streeter v. Canton School Dist., 2004 SD 30, ¶ 14, 677 N.W.2d 221, 225). Questions of law are fully reviewable. Sopko v. C & R Transfer Co., Inc., 1998 SD 8, ¶ 6, 575 N.W.2d 225, [¶ 7.......
  • Stuckey v. Sturgis Pizza Ranch, No. 25605.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 12 Enero 2011
    ...doctor's province to determine what is necessary793 N.W.2d 388or suitable and proper." Streeter v. Canton Sch. Dist., 2004 S.D. 30, ¶ 25, 677 N.W.2d 221, 226 (quoting Krier v. John Morrell & Co., 473 N.W.2d 496, 498 (S.D.1991)). And "[w]hen a disagreement arises as to the treatment rendered......
  • Wetch v. Crum & Forster Commercial Ins., CIV. 17-5033-JLV
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • 25 Febrero 2020
    ...it is for the employer to show that the treatment was not necessary or suitable and proper." Streeter v. Canton School District, 677 N.W.2d 221, 226 (S.D. 2004) (emphasis in original) (citing Krier v. John Morrell & Co., 473 N.W.2d 496, 498 (S.D. 1991)). See also Hanson v. Penrod Constructi......
  • Tak v. Sd Unemployment Ins. Div., No. 24343.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 11 Julio 2007
    ...record we are definitely and firmly convinced a mistake has been committed, only then will we reverse." Streeter v. Canton School Dist., 2004 SD 30, ¶ 14, 677 N.W.2d 221, 225. Whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor raises a mixed question of law and fact; as such,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • Sioux Falls Shopping News v. Dept. of Rev., No. 24616.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 23 Abril 2008
    ...are definitely and firmly convinced a mistake has been committed, only then will we reverse.'" Id. (citing Streeter v. Canton School Dist., 2004 SD 30, ¶ 14, 677 N.W.2d 221, 225). Questions of law are fully reviewable. Sopko v. C & R Transfer Co., Inc., 1998 SD 8, ¶ 6, 575 N.W.2d 225, [¶ 7.......
  • Stuckey v. Sturgis Pizza Ranch, No. 25605.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 12 Enero 2011
    ...doctor's province to determine what is necessary793 N.W.2d 388or suitable and proper." Streeter v. Canton Sch. Dist., 2004 S.D. 30, ¶ 25, 677 N.W.2d 221, 226 (quoting Krier v. John Morrell & Co., 473 N.W.2d 496, 498 (S.D.1991)). And "[w]hen a disagreement arises as to the treatment rendered......
  • Wetch v. Crum & Forster Commercial Ins., CIV. 17-5033-JLV
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Courts. 8th Circuit. District of South Dakota
    • 25 Febrero 2020
    ...it is for the employer to show that the treatment was not necessary or suitable and proper." Streeter v. Canton School District, 677 N.W.2d 221, 226 (S.D. 2004) (emphasis in original) (citing Krier v. John Morrell & Co., 473 N.W.2d 496, 498 (S.D. 1991)). See also Hanson v. Penrod Constructi......
  • Tak v. Sd Unemployment Ins. Div., No. 24343.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of South Dakota
    • 11 Julio 2007
    ...record we are definitely and firmly convinced a mistake has been committed, only then will we reverse." Streeter v. Canton School Dist., 2004 SD 30, ¶ 14, 677 N.W.2d 221, 225. Whether an individual is an employee or an independent contractor raises a mixed question of law and fact; as such,......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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