Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Douglas F. Staskal, Judge.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bower, J.
Cadbury Schweppes Holding, Inc. appeals, and Carly Boyd Sr. cross-appeals, the judicial review ruling that affirmed the workers' compensation commissioner's award of workers' compensation benefits to Boyd. AFFIRMED ON BOTH APPEALS.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Bower, JJ.
Cadbury Schweppes Holding, Inc. (Cadbury Schweppes) appeals, and Carly Boyd Sr. cross-appeals, the judicial review ruling that affirmed the workers' compensation commissioner's award of benefits to Boyd. Cadbury Schweppes contends the evidence does not support the commissioner's finding that Boyd suffered a whole-body injury extending to the right hip and award of eighty-percent industrial disability. Boyd contends he is entitled to a permanent total disability award.
We find substantial evidence supports the agency's finding that Boyd suffered an injury to the body as a whole. We further find the evidence supports the award of eighty-percent industrial disability. Although Boyd's treating physicians did not assign work restrictions as a result of his injuries, Boyd suffered a substantial loss of earning capacity as a result. However, because he is able to perform some sedentary work, an award of permanent total disability is not appropriate. We affirm.
I. Background Facts and Proceedings.
Boyd was an employee of Cadbury Schweppes on August 22, 2008, when a fork truck ran over his feet. He sustained crush injuries to both feet as a result. There is no dispute regarding these foot injuries.
At the time of the work injury, Boyd was wearing a brace on his right ankle for a twisted ankle he'd suffered in January 2008. Boyd had also suffered a right-foot fracture in 1989. His left foot sustained a hairline fracture and a dislocated toe in a 2004 injury.
Boyd began receiving treatment from podiatrist Dr. Scott King, three days after he was injured. Dr. King noted bruising and swelling to both feet and heels. Although the swelling decreased, the bruising did not. An MRI revealed a bony contusion of the metatarsal joints. In December 2008, Dr. King noted continued swelling and discoloration. Although Boyd claims to have suffered and reported hip pain since being injured, Dr. King noted Boyd's complaint of right-hip pain for the first time in March 2009. Dr. King associated Boyd's complaints of hip pain with the work injury and imposed restrictions. Later, Dr. King signed a letter deferring to Boyd's other physicians with respect to work restrictions and the cause of his hip injury.
Boyd also received treatment from Dr. Kenneth Pollack, a pain management specialist. Boyd complained of pain in his low back and right hip. Dr. Pollack theorized this pain was likely caused by altered body mechanics stemming from the crush injury. In March of 2009, Dr. Pollack opined his belief "within a reasonable degree of probability" that Boyd's left knee and right hip pain "is a direct result of the work-related injury." This opinion was based on the fact Boyd had no symptoms of right hip or left knee pain prior to the work injury. However, in January 2010, Dr. Pollack signed a letter which states, in pertinent part, that he was "unable to state, with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that Carl Boyd's right hip complaints . . . were a result of the August 22, 2008 alleged work injury."
Dr. Nettrour, a hip specialist, examined Boyd. On November 2, 2009, he wrote the following impression of Boyd: "Right hip injury, etiology unclear." He later signed a letter stating that Boyd has suffered no identifiable hip injury, and that any hip pain could not be related to the work injury.
Dr. Friedgood, a neurologist, also examined Boyd and concluded he did not need any permanent work restrictions based on his alleged right hip injury.
On November 16, 2009, Boyd was given an independent medical examination by Dr. Stoken, who related his complaints of pain in both feet, his right hip, and low back to the work injury. The doctor found Boyd had reached maximum medical improvement on September 21, 2009. Dr. Stoken assigned Boyd impairment ratings to the body as a whole: five percent based on the sacroiliac joint dysfunction and lumbar injury, ten present for the right lower extremity injury, and fifteen percent for the left lower extremity for a total impairment of twenty-eight percent of the whole body. Dr. Stoken assigned permanent work restrictions, including avoiding prolonged standing and walking; walking on uneven ground; and repetitive bending, twisting, and lifting.
On November 20, 2009, Boyd was examined by Dr. Eric Barp at the defendant's request. Dr. Barp opined that Boyd was likely at maximum medical improvement. He restricted Boyd's work to "[s]it down: work only." In another document dated the same day, Dr. Barp wrote, "May return to work without restrictions from a foot and ankle standpoint." Dr. Barp later explained that the document assigning restrictions was issued in error. He assigned Boyd impairment ...