Eck v. Verso Paper
Sedgwick Claims Management Services
August 4, 2016
Derrig Multiple Gradual Injuries Hand Paper Mill Carpal Tunnel
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
Despite Derrig holding that employees can have only one gradual injury to a single body part, the WCB can find that an employee has had two successive gradual injuries when the evidence supports it.
In his job as a production winder operating a super calendar paper machine requiring intensive hand use, Eck gradually injured his thumbs in 1999, diagnosed as muscle ligamentous strain and atypical de Quervain’s disease. He got treatment and modified is job, returning to regular duty with no treatment over the next 12 years (during which time the SOL presumably expired on that DOI).
In 2012, Eck developed carpal tunnel syndrome, and Dr. Mesrobian’s §312 IME found that Eck has CTS and also had CTS in 1999, but that Eck’s work in the interim significantly aggravated his condition, and the ALJ noted that Eck had “entirely new symptoms of tingling and numbness.” Judge Knopf found that Eck had a second gradual injury to essentially the same body parts and granted his petitions.
Verso appealed, but the Appellate Division upheld the decision, finding that Derrig does not preclude a finding of 2 successive gradual injuries to the same body parts if “both the severity and nature of the symptoms changed over time to such an extent as to produce a legitimate second injury.”