August 16, 2011
Contact: Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305-670-1101 Ext. 1023
Per Curiam Affirmance in Workers’ Compensation Claim
TAMPA, FL — Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. (QPWB) trial attorney Juan Carlos Garcia (Garcia), a partner in the Tampa office won a worker’s compensation trial in the case of Lopez v TCS/ESIS. Thereafter, an appeal was filed by the claimant, and Garcia and Jeremy J. Jacobs (Jacobs) received a per curiam affirmance (PCA) on behalf of the Employer/Carrier from the First District Court of Appeal (DCA) of Florida. At trial, the defense presented evidence that the claimant’s need for left knee treatment was not medically necessary. The Judge of Compensation Claims agreed at trial which led to the appeal defense and PCA opinion obtained thereafter.
On June 14, 2006 the Claimant/Appellant was in an industrial accident while working as a cold room prep operator. Worker’s compensation claim was allowed and she received authorized, compensable medical care to her lower back from June 2006 through 2010. The orthopedic specialist treating the claimant for lower back pain from 2006 to 2010 provided testimony indicating the knee pain may be due to preexisting degenerative conditions exacerbated by obesity, or due to the low back injury. He therefore referred the claimant for testing and evaluation. In response, the defense set up an independent medical examiner (IME) to perform the diagnostic testing and evaluation. After the IME was completed, testimony was obtained confirming the knee treatment was not related. This evidence was presented to the Judge at trial by Garcia and led to the ruling on behalf of the Employer/Carrier.
On appeal, the claimant argued the left knee required treatment but that an IME was not allowed to opine on actual treatment and that the IME was not qualified. In response, Garcia and Jacobs (Employer/Carrier) argued that with the filing of the Petition for Benefits, the claimant had failed to comply with the “good faith process” requirements afforded in Florida Statute Section 440.192(1) wherein the claimant must exhaust all grievance procedures before filing a Petition for Benefits.
During the trial, the Judge found that no evidence was presented to prove that the industrial accident of June 14, 2006 was the major contributing cause for future medical care to claimant’s right knee. The Judge found the Employer/Carrier provided the testing and evaluation necessary and sufficient to address all claims made by the claimant and affirm and deny the need for future treatment. The 1st DCA declined to provide a written opinion on the issue, rejecting all arguments raised by the claimant and determining no opinion was needed as the evidence at trial was proper. The Employer/Carrier will now proceed to obtain costs for the trial win and appellate win.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. is a full-service business law firm with more than 125 attorneys collaborating across major practice areas in eight offices located throughout Florida including Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Ft. Myers, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee; and two offices in Kentucky located in Louisville and Lexington. QPWB provides comprehensive legal services to individuals and organizations of all sizes throughout the U.S. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.