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.

Ulrich v. Public Employees' Retirement System

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 2, 2019

CARYL S. ULRICH APPELLANT
v.
PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 02/01/2018

          COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. TOMIE T. GREEN

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: HENRY BERNARD ZUBER III

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: JANE L. MAPP SAMUEL MARTIN MILLETTE

          BEFORE BARNES, C.J., WESTBROOKS AND LAWRENCE, JJ.

          LAWRENCE, J.

         ¶1. Caryl Ulrich applied for duty-related disability benefits from the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi ("PERS") in 2015. Ulrich claimed to have been injured from an electrical shock while working at Pascagoula High School. The PERS Medical Board ("the Board") denied her claim for disability benefits. The Board found that there was "insufficient objective medical evidence to support the claim that [Ulrich's] medical condition prevents [her] from performing the duties of a teacher." Furthermore, the Board found that Ulrich failed to prove that her disability was related to a traumatic event that occurred while teaching. The Board's decision was affirmed by both the PERS Disability Appeals Committee ("Appeals Committee") and the Hinds County Circuit Court. She now appeals those decisions to this Court. We affirm the decision of the Board and the circuit court.

         FACTS

         ¶2. Caryl Ulrich taught at Pascagoula High School for over seventeen years until she resigned in May 2015. A year before she retired, she claimed she was electrocuted while flipping a light switch off in class. Ulrich told the Board and the Appeals Committee that when she went to switch the light off, she heard a loud crackle or pop and saw a flash of fire or a spark. She then collapsed against the metal door frame, and a student brought her a chair to sit in until a nurse could come.

         ¶3. Ulrich went to MedWorks Clinic and received care from Dr. John Pessoney after the incident. She complained of pain on her left side and a headache. There is nothing to indicate she lost consciousness during the event. Ulrich was released without restriction by Dr. Pessoney.

         ¶4. Three days later, Ulrich returned to the MedWorks Clinic for a follow-up evaluation. Her headache had persisted, as well as the pain in her left arm and hand. Dr. Pessoney indicated that Ulrich should go see a neurologist. On that same day, Ulrich went to the emergency room and received a shot of Benadryl along with a dose of Hydrocodone.

         ¶5. Ulrich introduced evidence of a "burn" mark on her right hip. No such mark was documented on the date of the incident. Ulrich initially believed the marks were hives. Ulrich testified at her hearing before the Committee that she showed her neurologist, Dr. Terrence Millette, the "burn" on her hip she believed to be an exit wound. Dr. Millette advised her to take a picture of the mark, but Ulrich testified to the Appeals Committee that she "didn't at that point," and it was not until six weeks later that she finally took the photo of her hip that showed the markings. Ulrich's testimony to the Appeals Committee indicated she believed the burns were a result of the electricity potentially exiting her body.

         ¶6. Ulrich completed several different tests while in Dr. Millette's care, along with three separate cycles of physical therapy to correct her issues. Dr. Millette found that Ulrich suffered from "mild carpal tunnel syndrome" in her right wrist. He also gave Ulrich Botox injections in her neck for her pain caused by muscle spasms. The record shows that the residual testing that Ulrich completed came back consistently normal. Ulrich, however, continued to complain of pain in her left side, double vision, and dizziness with nausea. Her medical records do not indicate that she ever explored corrective lenses to fix her double vision, as was suggested by an Appeals Committee member at her hearing.

         ¶7. It was not until a year after the incident that Ulrich filed for duty-based disability benefits through PERS. Ulrich had continued to work as a teacher, but claimed she suffered from pain on her left side, double vision, and nausea. At that point, she was already receiving workers' compensation benefits. Dr. Millette completed the PERS "Statement of Examining Physician" form, concluding that Ulrich was disabled due to pain in her left side. While Ulrich claimed that nausea and double vision were ...


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.