Kevin Ramsey v. Shaw's Supermarkets Inc.
Sedgwick Claims Management Services
April 21, 2021
mistake of fact
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
Kevin Ramsey v. Shaw’s Supermarkets (attached)- The Workers’ Compensation Board Appellate Division has overturned a "mistake of fact" finding and vacated an award of benefits.
Kevin Ramsey was grocery manager at Shaw's and frequently bent and knelt while stocking shelves. He gradually developed bilateral knee pain which "worsened progressively." On 8/22/17, he saw his doctor and asked whether his work was causing his knee symptoms, but the doctor did not "issue a causation opinion" until 12/1/17. Meanwhile, on 11/3/17, Ramsey was seen by "Shaw's chosen medical provider," who assessed that his knee condition was work-related, and Ramsey notified Shaw's of his work injury that day.
Ramsey filed petitions alleging an 8/22/17 bilateral knee injury; Shaw's denied causation and asserted the 30-day notice defense. Ramsey claimed his late notice was due to a "mistake of fact regarding the cause and nature of his knee pain," and former ALJ Goodnough agreed and ordered payment of benefits. Shaw's appealed, arguing that Judge Goodnough wrongly focused on the date the medical records first suggested a work connection, instead of the date Ramsey himself first made the connection in his own mind.
The Appellate Division agreed with Shaw's, vacated Judge Goodnough’s decision, and entered a denial of benefits. Ramsey had the burden of proving "mistake of fact" for his late notice, but the panel found nothing in the record to support it: "Mr. Ramsey himself did not testify that he was mistaken; nor did he testify as to when or how he came to understand that his injury was work-related."