KIMBERLY OLSON, Employee, v. FINE IMPRESSIONS, SELF-INSURED/SRS/SEDGWICK CMS, Employer/Appellant.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT OF APPEALS
JUNE 14, 2012
APPEALS. Where the employee did not contest the appeal of the employer, the findings appealed by the employer are vacated.
Affirmed in part and vacated in part.
Determined by: Stofferahn, J., Johnson, J. and Hall, J.
Compensation Judge: Jeanne E. Knight
Attorneys: Steven P. Christensen., Roseville, MN, for the Respondent. Gina M. Uhrbom, Brown & Carlson, Minneapolis, MN, for the Appellant.
DAVID A. STOFFERAHN, Judge
The compensation judge determined that the employee’s work injury of March 2, 2010, was a substantial contributing factor in her need for knee surgery. The self-insured employer appeals from two findings that the employer argues were beyond the scope of the issues presented at the hearing and are prejudicial to the employer. We vacate the appealed findings.
The employee, Kimberly Olson, sustained an admitted injury to her left knee on March 2, 2010, while she was working for the employer, Fine Impressions.
The employee had surgery to her left knee in November 2010. After an MRI scan was done in March 2011, showing extensive chondrolmalacia and multiple loose bodies in the knee, her treating orthopedist recommended additional knee surgery. The self-insured employer had the employee evaluated by Dr. Paul Wicklund and, based on his opinion, took the position that the recommended surgery was not related to the work injury.
The employee filed a medical request and the dispute ultimately resulted in an evidentiary hearing before a compensation judge on December 30, 2011. The compensation judge issued her findings and order on January 31, 2012, and determined that the work injury was a substantial contributing factor in the employee’s need for additional knee surgery. The employer was ordered to pay for the surgery.
The employer did not appeal the determination of causation or the need for left knee surgery. The employer has appealed two findings that the employer contends are beyond the scope of the issues at hearing and are prejudicial to the employer.
Two findings in the compensation judge’s decision are the subject of this appeal. In Finding 3, the compensation judge stated, “The employee sustained a work injury on December 20, 2005, which resulted in a C5-6 cervical fusion.” And in Finding 12, the compensation judge stated in part, “On September 14 and 15, 2011, she was helping at the folding machine. Her left knee gave out and she fell to the ground, hitting her head.”
The employer argues on appeal that the only issue at hearing was whether the employee’s left knee condition was related to the March 2010 work injury. The employer contends that determinations regarding a cervical injury or a possible head injury are beyond the scope of the hearing. The employer claims that, while those determinations are irrelevant to the employer’s liability for the knee surgery at issue, the appealed findings, if allowed to stand, might have res judicata effect in the event of future claims.
In response, the employee states that she does not contest the employer’s appeal.
Since there is no dispute as to the appeal brought by the employer, we will not consider the merits of that appeal and the arguments raised by the employer. We vacate Finding 3 and that portion of Finding 12 that was quoted previously.
The compensation judge’s decision is affirmed in part and vacated in part.