Tardiff v. AAA NNE & Auto Shine Car Wash
MEMIC & Acadia Insurance
March 21, 2018
Arm Back Leg Multiple Injuries Aggravation IME§312 Work Capacity Multiple Employers
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
While Mr. Tardiff worked at AAA, he injured his arms in 2000 and low back and left leg in 2001. He thereafter worked for Auto Shine Car Wash and fell from a ladder there in 2008, and on the way the hospital was in car crash; in 2010 he injured his face, neck and arm using a pry bar. Mr. Tardiff filed petitions, and Judge Collier found that the 2008 injury aggravated his prior low back and left leg injuries, and that the 2010 injury caused continuing symptoms in his neck and arms, plus depression. Judge Collier granted the petitions in part but ordered only ongoing partial benefits, apportioned between the 2 employers. Both Mr. Tardiff and Auto Shine appealed.
The appellate panel affirmed the decision. It found that Judge Collier's findings were based on a §312 IMEs opinion, which found that the 2008 incident contributed to Mr. Tardiff's low back and left leg symptoms; contrary to the IME's report, however, Judge Collier found that the 2010 incident did not aggravate those symptoms; he then followed the IME’s opinion that the 2010 facial injury also injured his neck, aggravating his pre-existing arm condition. The panel found that Judge Collier had competent evidence and a reasonable basis to follow the IMEs opinions on some issues and reject his opinions on other issues.
Mr. Tardiff argued that, although the IME doctor reported initially that he has a partial work capacity, at deposition he testified that Mr. Tardiff does not have a work capacity. Judge Collier chose to accept the IME report over the IME deposition testimony, in line with the §207 physician's opinion that Mr. Tardiff had a limited work capacity. The panel found that Judge Collier was correct to "consider the larger context in which those statements are offered to construe the intent of the examining physician."