Robert Brown v. W. T. Martin Plumbing & Heating (April 15, 2010)

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Robert Brown v. W. T. Martin Plumbing & Heating (April 15, 2010)
STATE OF VERMONT
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Robert Brown Opinion No. 14-10WC
v. By: Phyllis Phillips, Esq.
Hearing Officer
W.T. Martin Plumbing & Heating
For: Patricia Moulton Powden
Commissioner
State File No. Y-52948
OPINION AND ORDER
Hearing held in Montpelier, Vermont on November 25, 2009
Record closed on January 5, 2010
APPEARANCES:
J. Norman O’Connor, Esq., for Claimant
Jeffrey Spencer, Esq., for Defendant
ISSUE PRESENTED:
What is the appropriate permanent impairment rating attributable to Claimant’s August 30, 2006 work injury?
EXHIBITS:
Joint Exhibit I: Medical records
Claimant’s Exhibit 1: Deposition of Robert Giering, M.D., taken on November 3, 2009
Claimant’s Exhibit 2: Curriculum vitae, Todd Lefkoe, M.D.
Defendant’s Exhibit A: Dr. Wieneke reports, 3/17/08 and 5/20/09
CLAIM:
Permanent partial disability benefits pursuant to 21 V.S.A. §648
Interest, costs and attorney fees pursuant to 21 V.S.A. §§664 and 678
2
FINDINGS OF FACT:
1. At all times relevant to these proceedings, Claimant was an employee and Defendant was his employer as those terms are defined in Vermont’s Workers’ Compensation Act.
2. Judicial notice is taken of all relevant forms contained in the Department’s file relating to this claim. Judicial notice also is taken of the AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (5th ed.)(the “AMA Guides”).
3. Claimant worked as a master plumber for Defendant, a plumbing contractor. On August 30, 2006 he slipped and fell down a flight of stairs at a job site. Claimant injured his right shoulder in the fall.
4. Claimant suffered a right shoulder rotator cuff tear, which Dr. Nofziger, an orthopedic surgeon, surgically repaired in January 2007. Thereafter, Claimant underwent a course of physical therapy. His recovery was complicated by adhesive capsulitis as well as symptoms indicative of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
5. Complex regional pain syndrome is a disorder of the sympathetic nervous system. One of the hallmark characteristics of the syndrome is burning pain that does not follow a single nerve root distribution but rather is generalized throughout the affected limb. Beyond that general characteristic, the signs and symptoms of CRPS can be grouped into four general categories:

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