Loudoun County Public Schools and PMA Management Corporation v. Mirian Hernandez

COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA UNPUBLISHED Present: Judges Huff, AtLee and Athey Argued by videoconference LOUDOUN COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND PMA MANAGEMENT CORPORATION MEMORANDUM OPINION* BY v. Record No. 0870-20-4 JUDGE GLEN A. HUFF JANUARY 12, 2021 MIRIAN HERNANDEZ FROM THE VIRGINIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION J. David Griffin (Winchester Law Group, P.C., on brief), for appellants. Krista DeSmyter (Casey Duchesne; ChasenBoscolo Injury Lawyers, on brief), for appellee. Loudoun County Public Schools and its insurer (collectively, “employer”) appeal from the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commission (the “Commission”) that awarded Mirian Hernandez (“claimant”) temporary total disability benefits. Employer contends the Commission erred in finding that claimant’s disability is causally related to her workplace accident and that claimant adequately marketed her residual work capacity. Because both of the Commission’s findings are supported by credible evidence in the record, this Court affirms. I. BACKGROUND “Under settled principles of appellate review, we consider the evidence in the light most favorable to [claimant] as the prevailing party before the commission.” Layne v. Crist Elec. Contractor, Inc., 64 Va. App. 342, 345 (2015). So viewed, the evidence shows the following: * Pursuant to Code § 17.1-413, this opinion is not designated for publication. Claimant worked as a custodian for employer. She suffered a compensable neck strain, left shoulder strain, and right shoulder strain as a result of a workplace accident on February 3, 2017. By agreement, the Commission entered a stipulated order awarding claimant a lifetime medical award for those injuries as well as a period of temporary total disability benefits from October 30, 2018, through May 27, 2019. Shortly after her injury, claimant began treating with Dr. Stephanie Clop. Dr. Clop diagnosed claimant with cervical/thoracic myofascial pain involving the upper trapezius, rhomboid, serratus and teres minor as a result of her workplace injury. Claimant continued to experience significant pain in her shoulders and neck and continued treating with Dr. Clop throughout 2018 and 2019. On May 22, 2019, Dr. Clop prescribed “work hardening” and issued a set of work restrictions for claimant: Recommended return to work max lifting, push, pull 25 lb., no weed whacking, to include no using floor buffer/stripper machine, no pushing lawn mower. Will reevaluate in 6 weeks to see if able to increase work status to full duty. On May 27, 2019, claimant returned to work for employer in a light-duty capacity. Claimant returned for an appointment with Dr. Clop on June 19, 2019. Claimant noted significant and increasing pain as a result of her return to work. Claimant stated that she was “unabl[e] to do continuous vacuuming, sweeping, [and that] any activity that requires strength increases her pain.” Dr. Clop maintained the same diagnoses from claimant’s earlier injury. Dr. Clop also continued to opine that her ongoing pain was causally related to the February 2017 accident. In addition to the existing work restrictions, Dr. Clop instructed claimant to avoid any repetitive forward flexion and extension of her shoulder with more than twenty-five pounds of force. Due to increased pain, claimant ...

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