Pouzol v. L. Blanchette & Sons
MMTA Workers' Comp Trust
March 10, 2016
Acute and Gradual Injury Pre-Existing Injury Aggravation §201(5) §312 §201(4)
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
Judge Goodnough found that Pouzol sustained both an acute back injury and a gradual back injury from years of moving furniture. Pouzol also had pre-existing bilateral shoulder arthritis which did not become disabling until after his back injury, and the panel upheld Judge Goodnough’s decision not to apply §201(5), as that section governs only subsequent non-work injuries. Although Dr. Donovan's §312 exam found that 95% of Pouzol’s incapacity was attributable to his preexisting shoulder and 5% was attributable to his back, the panel upheld Judge Goodnough's application of §201(4) and his finding of both an acute and a gradual back injury contributing significantly to his incapacity. The panel reasoned that the back injury was significant enough to require surgery (with hardware implanted) and rendered him unable to return to work, thus satisfying the “significant aggravation” standard.