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Fighting Claims for Reimbursement by Co-Defendants

November 1, 2016

by Brenna Hampton

St. Vincent De Paul v. WCAB (Dwayne Groves) (2016), writ denied

Applicant, Dwayne Groves, sustained an admitted left knee and low back injury on 12/07/01 while working for St. Vincent de Paul (SVP).  The applicant underwent a reconstructive surgery of the ACL, MCL, and medial meniscus of the left knee on March 27, 2002. That injury was settled by way of an award on 8/30/05 for 28.5% permanent disability limited to the left knee. This award was followed by a timely petition to reopen for new and further disability on September 2, 2005.

A separate cumulative trauma claim filed by the applicant was dismissed based upon the initial med-legal opinion.  Several years later, SVP filed applications against subsequent employers based on the prior medical-legal opinion. At issue was more than $600k in potential reimbursement between the defendants if the court were to find that the applicant sustained a cumulative trauma and that SVP was entitled to pursue reimbursement.

Hanna Brophy attorney, Brenna Hampton, represented the insurance company for one of the subsequent employers.  Our client denied the application that was filed against it on several grounds, including the ground that the medical evidence did not support a cumulative trauma.  After several days of trial, the trial judge issued a decision in favor of dismissing our client. On appeal by SVP, the WCAB denied reconsideration. On further appeal by SVP, the 4th District Court of Appeal reviewed the decision and upheld the lower court’s decision that there was no cumulative trauma.  The net result was the dismissal of the application that SVP had filed against our client and a take-nothing with regard to SVP’s allegations that they were entitled to reimbursement.

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