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Workers’ Compensation – Occupational Disease – Shoulder Impingement – Repetitive Motion – Increased Risk

Waters v. Schenker Logistics, Inc. (Lawyers Weekly No. 12-16-1094, 10 pp.) (John C. Martin, Ch.J.) Appealed from the Industrial Commission. N.C. App. Unpub.

Holding: Defendants contend there was not competent evidence to support the Industrial Commission’s finding that plaintiff’s job requires repetitive lifting at chest or shoulder height. However, plaintiff presented evidence that (1) when he performs “letdowns,” he transfers cases onto a full pallet, which is sometimes “up a little bit” from waist level; (2) when he transfers cases from one pallet to another, his arms are out in front of him, and he has to “reach across the pallet”; and (3) he injured his shoulder at work while “lifting some heavy boxes above his head.” Thus, the Commission’s finding that plaintiff lifts at chest or shoulder height as part of his employment is supported by competent evidence.

We affirm the Commission’s opinion and award.

Plaintiff testified that, before he was injured, he performed 80 to 100 letdowns per shift, during which he would move approximately 100 to 150 cases from one pallet to another. Plaintiff’s doctor described plaintiff’s job as requiring “repetitive motion.” Therefore, the Commission’s finding that plaintiff’s job as a stocker is repetitive in nature is supported by competent evidence.

When told that plaintiff’s job required use of his “arms out in front of his body,” “more [at] chest level,” and included “reaching and moving across” pallets, Dr. Dalldorf opined that this motion “would put him at an increased risk” versus the public at large. Thus, the Commission’s finding of fact that plaintiff’s job put him at a greater risk of developing shoulder impingement than that faced by the general public is supported by competent evidence.

 


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