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WILLIAM MORRISH vs. AMTRUST INS. CO. OF KANSAS

Workers' Compensation Court of the State of Montana

Did Petitioner timely file an occupational disease claim pursuant to § 39-71-601(3), MCA?

IN THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
2018 MTWCC 8
WCC No. 2017-3955
WILLIAM MORRISH
Petitioner
vs.
AMTRUST INS. CO. OF KANSAS
Respondent/Insurer.

Summary: Petitioner has had a long history of low-back pain and sciatica, which, as it
worsened, caused him to miss work. Starting in 2012, Petitioner and his chiropractor
discussed that his work was causing his low-back pain and sciatica. In April 2015, after
sending him for x-rays, Petitioner’s chiropractor diagnosed him with degenerative disc
disease at L5-S1 and L4-5, for which Petitioner continued to treat. In July 2016, Petitioner
suffered acute low-back pain when he reached down to pick something up at his home;
he has been unable to go back to work since. In August 2016, Petitioner’s medical doctor
told him the major cause of his low-back and radiating pain was likely his work as a
mechanic. Petitioner filed an OD claim several days later, which Respondent denied.
Respondent argues Petitioner does not have a compensable OD. Alternatively,
Respondent argues Petitioner’s claim is untimely because he did not file his claim for
more than a year after his chiropractor diagnosed him with degenerative disc disease at
L5-S1 and L4-5. Petitioner contends he has a compensable OD because his job duties
were the major contributing cause of his degenerative disc disease. He further contends
his claim is timely because he could only have known his degenerative disc disease was
caused by his work when his medical doctor told him, and he filed his claim several days
later.

Held: The issue of whether Petitioner has a compensable OD is moot, because even
assuming that he does, Petitioner failed to timely file his claim pursuant to § 39-71-601(3),
Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Judgment – Page 2
MCA. Petitioner knew his degenerative disc disease was caused by his work in April
2015 because: Petitioner’s chiropractor told him as early as 2012 that Petitioner’s work
was causing his low-back problems; he treated continuously, and missed or was taken
off work, for those problems through 2015 and beyond; and in April 2015, x-rays revealed
degenerative disc disease in his lumbar spine. Notwithstanding, Petitioner filed his OD
claim in August 2016, outside the one-year statute of limitations.

JUDGMENT
¶ 51 Morrish did not timely file his OD claim pursuant to § 39-71-601(3), MCA;
accordingly, judgment is entered in Amtrust’s favor on his OD claim.
¶ 52 Pursuant to ARM 24.5.348(2), this Judgment is certified as final and, for purposes
of appeal, shall be considered as a notice of entry of judgment.

READ FULL DOCUMENT AT ORIGNAL SOURCE: http://wcc.dli.mt.gov/m/Morrish_2018MTWCC8.pdf