Ray Bartlett v. Nestle Waters N.A.

Insurance Company

Sedgwick Claims Management Services

Date Decided

March 31, 2021

Panel Members

Timothy Collier

Elizabeth Elwin

Mike Stovall


Board IME Procedure Total Incapacity Board IME Procedure Total Incapacity


Due Process

File Size

130 KB


Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys

Ray Bartlett v. Nestle Waters NA, Inc. (attached) - Bartlett drove a tractor-trailer delivering Nestle water, and in 2016 he bumped his head on the underbody of his vehicle, wrenching his neck. He filed a petition and had a §312 IME with Dr. Donovan, who diagnosed a significant aggravation of his pre-existing spondylitis causing total disability.

After the hearing, ALJ Goodnough allowed Nestle to send Dr. Donovan an x-ray and report, and he issued a supplemental IME report. Judge Goodnough then let Nestle depose Dr. Donovan, but “at the last minute” Nestle canceled the deposition to gather pre-injury PT records.

After Nestle got the records, Judge Goodnough did not let Nestle send them to Dr. Donovan, or reschedule his deposition, or put the PT records into evidence. In his decree, Judge Goodnough adopted Dr. Donovan’s IME opinion, granted the petition, and ordered Nestle to pay Bartlett total incapacity benefits. Nestle appealed, but the Appellate Division affirmed the decision.

The panel found that Judge Goodnough had afforded Nestle due process and acted within the scope of his discretion in disallowing the IME deposition to avoid unreasonable delay. The panel noted that Nestle could have gotten the PT notes previously, and that they were cumulative anyway, as Dr. Donovan and Judge Goodnough already considered Bartlett’s pre-existing condition. Regarding Bartlett’s total disability, the panel found no “clear and convincing evidence to the contrary” in Bartlett’s hunting, fishing, sweeping, motorcycling and snowmobiling activities.

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