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Sanderson Farms, Inc. v. Jessie

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

March 3, 2015

SANDERSON FARMS, INC. APPELLANT
v.
TANYA JESSIE APPELLEE

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/06/2014

MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DOUGLAS S. BOONE

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: FLOYD E. DOOLITTLE

BEFORE LEE, C.J., ISHEE AND FAIR, JJ.

FAIR, J.

¶1. Sanderson Farms Inc. appeals from the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission's order affirming the administrative judge's (AJ) decision to award employee Tanya Jessie temporary total disability benefits and permanent partial disability benefits. Finding no error, we affirm.

FACTS

¶2. Jessie was forty-six years old when the Commission issued its order. She had received her high-school diploma. Jessie has performed hotel housekeeping in the past, but her work experience is primarily in the poultry processing industry.

¶3. Jessie began working at Sanderson Farms in 2003. Her job duties included poultry evisceration, which involved repetitive grasping and use of scissors and knives. The poultry carcasses weighed as much as eight pounds each. In 2010, Jessie developed bilateral carpel tunnel syndrome from repetitive motion in both hands, wrists, and arms. Due to her permanent work restrictions, Jessie was no longer able to perform her original job duties. So she worked at the liver table, separating the poultry hearts, lungs, and livers, and placing them into specified containers.

¶4. On June 20, 2011, Jessie filed a petition to controvert for her work injuries. Sanderson Farms admitted in its answer that Jessie had sustained the injuries listed in her petition but denied that she was entitled to temporary or permanent disability benefits. Sanderson Farms also denied that Jessie had sustained a loss of wage-earning capacity.

¶5. A hearing was held before the AJ on June 13, 2013. The AJ reviewed the medical records and affidavit of Jessie's treating physician, Dr. Sheila Lindley. Dr. Lindley initially saw Jessie on August 20, 2010. She diagnosed Jessie with left cubital tunnel syndrome and persistent carpel tunnel syndrome with the left greater than the right. On November 15, 2010, Jessie underwent left carpal tunnel open decompression. On January 10, 2011, she underwent right carpal tunnel open decompression. Jessie was released for light duty work activities on April 4, 2011; she was instructed to refrain from scissor or knife use as well as from repetitive continual wrist flexion or digital flexion extension. Dr. Lindley found that Jessie had reached maximum medical improvement on April 15, 2011. She assigned Jessie a six percent impairment rating to each upper extremity. Work restrictions at that time were no continual repetitive digital flexion extension or sustained gripping activities. Dr. Lindley further instructed Jessie to avoid lifting, pushing, or pulling greater than twenty pounds with either the left or right upper extremity.

¶6. On July 10, 2012, Dr. Lindley issued a report stating that Jessie returned to her clinic on May 30, 2012, with a flare of her carpal tunnel symptomatology. According to Dr Lindley's report, Jessie had been doing well until she started hanging chickens that were greater than eight pounds. Jessie showed marked improvement after her placement at the liver table. Dr. Lindley recommended that Jessie lift no more than five pounds with the left or right upper extremity, and no more than twenty pounds with both hands. Jessie's other work restrictions remained the same.

ΒΆ7. The AJ additionally reviewed the medical records and affidavit of Dr. Rahul Vohra. Jessie first saw Dr. Vohra on September 14, 2012, for an employer medical evaluation. Jessie had complaints of bilateral hand pain and numbness. Dr. Vohra reviewed Dr. Lindley's medical records. Dr. Vohra opined that Jessie had mild wrist flexor tendinitis, based on tenderness along Jessie's left wrist flexors. He further stated that Jessie's recurrent numbness complaints could be secondary to recurrent median nerve entrapment at the wrist. Dr. Vohra recommended that Jessie undergo a repeat nerve conduction to help detail Jessie's permanent restrictions and impairment. He performed the nerve conduction ...


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