Debra K. Mattick, Respondent,
Hy-Vee Foods Stores, Self-Insured/EMC Risk Services, Inc., Relators, and Mayo Clinic and Hartford Life, Intervenors.
Compensation Court of Appeals Office of Appellate Courts
L. Gerber, Atkinson Law Office, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for
Jeffrey J. Lindquist, Pustorino, Tilton, Parrington &
Lindquist, PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for relators.
Workers' Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) erred when
it held that the expert opinion upon which the compensation
judge relied lacked adequate factual foundation.
WCCA clearly and manifestly erred when it reversed the
compensation judge's factual finding that
respondent's work injury was not a substantial
contributing cause of her surgery that addressed a
preexisting arthritis condition.
case requires us to determine whether the Workers'
Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) exceeded the scope of
its review when it reversed the compensation judge's
decision to deny benefits to respondent-employee Debra K.
Mattick. Because the compensation judge's decision was
supported by substantial evidence, we conclude that the WCCA
exceeded the scope of its review. Accordingly, we reverse the
WCCA's decision and reinstate the compensation
has worked as a cake decorator at a Hy-Vee store in Albert
Lea since 2001. In 2000, before she began working for Hy-Vee,
Mattick fractured her right ankle and underwent surgery. The
fracture did not heal properly, and a second surgery was
required. After completing physical therapy, Mattick soon
returned to working as a cake decorator. She also engaged in
active recreational activities including sand volleyball and
biking. Her current job at Hy-Vee requires her to work on her
feet for 40 to 45 hours per week.
years after the 2000 injury, Mattick experienced pain in her
right ankle for about a month. She was diagnosed with
post-traumatic arthritis and was advised to treat her ankle
at home with arch supports, an ankle brace, icing,
stretching, and anti-inflammatory drugs.
testified that from 2004 to 2014, she felt minor pain and
swelling in her right ankle several times per year, usually
coinciding with changes in the weather. She treated the
symptoms at home by taking anti-inflammatory drugs and
wearing an ankle brace when playing sports.
January 18, 2014, while working at Hy-Vee, Mattick tripped
over a pallet and twisted her right ankle. She finished her
work shift, iced and wrapped her ankle for 24 hours, and
worked another full day with her ankle wrapped before seeking
medical treatment on January 20. Mattick's ankle
exhibited only mild swelling with no bruising, but x-rays
showed "[d]egenerative changes at the ankle joint."
She was diagnosed with a sprain and was instructed to wear an
ankle brace, elevate her ankle, take anti-inflammatory drugs,
and place weight on the ankle "as tolerated."