Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Walker v. Kinder Morgan, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

September 19, 2017

CHRISTOPHER WALKER APPELLANT
v.
KINDER MORGAN, INC. AND OLD REPUBLIC INSURANCE COMPANY APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/26/2016

         MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: JAMES KENNETH WETZEL, RUSSELL S. GILL, GARNER JAMES WETZEL

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: JEFFERSON PINCKNEY W. SKELTON ANDY LOWRY

          BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., WILSON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Christopher Walker appeals the Workers' Compensation Commission's decision overturning an administrative judge's determination that he suffered an on-the-job injury to his lower back. The administrative judge found in favor of Walker and awarded him temporary total disability benefits until he reached maximum medical improvement, as well as medical expenses, including for spinal surgery. On a petition for review, the Commission disagreed with the administrative judge's findings, reversed the administrative judge's order, and dismissed Walker's petition for failure to prove a compensable workplace injury. Finding no error, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Walker had an extensive medical history with lower-back pain prior to working for Kinder Morgan Inc. Walker began his employment with Kinder Morgan on or about September 26, 2011. When he started working he was already undergoing physical therapy for his back from a prior accident. According to Walker, Kinder Morgan was unaware of his previous work-related and automobile injuries. Around February 11, 2015, Walker had an automobile accident. Damage was done to his vehicle, and Walker was taken to the emergency room. According to Walker, he was experiencing muscle spasms and tingling in his foot following the accident.

         ¶3. Walker was prescribed a muscle relaxer and pain medication, and he was taken off work for a week because Kinder Morgan does not allow its employees to work while taking mood-altering medications. Walker returned to Kinder Morgan on February 24, 2015, with no restrictions. On his first day back to work, Walker was required to assist a coworker, Donte Meyers, in dismantling a compressor, draining its oil, and removing and replacing the inner filters. The lid attached to the compressor had to be removed to change the oil.

         ¶4. The lid weighed approximately seventy to eighty pounds. Walker and Meyers lifted the lid off of the compressor. While lifting the lid and twisting around, Walker testified that he felt a "bite" in his back. According to Walker, his weight was on his right hand, side, and knee, and he had a preexisting low-back injury.

         ¶5. After Walker and Meyers lifted the lid, Walker carried it over a threshold; at that point he turned the lid in a different position and carried it against his chest down a step. He again felt a "pinch" in his back when he laid the lid on the concrete area. According to Walker, Meyers was on the opposite side of the compressor, and did not see Walker maneuvering the lid because his view was obstructed. Walker testified that he did not inform Meyers that he injured his back, since he had just returned to work.

         ¶6. Two Kinder Morgan supervisors, Kelly Pitts and Darwin Stillson, were making safety rounds and walked over to Walker's area as he was placing the lid on the ground. Stillson and Pitts briefly conversed with Walker and Meyers, but Walker did not mention the injury to them. That evening, Walker went home and lay on the floor, attempting to ease his back pain. His pain did not subside and actually worsened. The next day Walker noticed that his right foot was numb and his back was still hurting; however, he did not report the injury that day, though Kinder Morgan's policy was to report the injury immediately.

         ¶7. Two days after the injury, Walker noticed numbness in his foot and sharp pains in his back. Three days after the injury, Walker went to his work leader, James Rachal, and reported the injury. According to Walker, Rachal recommended that an injury report be made, and that he see his family physician. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.