The Appellate Group

White v. Labor Commission

White v. Labor Commission, 2020 UT App 128 (Pohlman, J.)

Workers’ Compensation

An employee injured his knee at work and sought workers’ compensation benefits. The employer moved to compel the employee to attend a medical evaluation, and the administrative law judge (ALJ) granted that motion. After a medical panel reviewed the employee’s case, it determined that the employee had a preexisting condition and that the injury aggravated the preexisting condition. The ALJ adopted the panel’s recommendation, and the appeals board upheld the decision. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The board correctly concluded that the work activity that caused the employee’s knee injury—measuring a beam while walking backwards and tripping over a block of wood—did not involve unusual or extraordinary exertion above the usual wear and tear of nonemployment life.  Walking backward, focused on a task other than the mere act of walking, and then stumbling on a protruding object, shifting weight, and stabilizing oneself is not unusual or extraordinary, such as those involving jumping, lifting great weight, or repetition. Nor are these circumstances exigent or peculiar. Rather, these activities are comparable to those generally expected of persons in everyday life.
  • The employee did not show that he was harmed by being ordered to cooperate in the medical evaluation.

Read the full court opinion