Minnesota Supreme Court Issues Workers’ Compensation Decisions – Hudson v. Trillium

Eddie Hudson v. Trillium Staffing, Case No. A16-2017

In Eddie Hudson v. Trillium Staffing, Case No. A16-2017, Hudson was injured in the course of employment with Trillium Staffing when the semi-trailer truck he was driving jackknifed and veered into a ditch. He was treated for injuries to his neck and low back, a traumatic brain injury, and psychological injuries. The parties participated in a mediation, which resulted in a settlement of Hudson’s claimed neck, low-back, brain, psychological, and other injuries for which he claimed PPD.

Following the settlement, Hudson began treating with Dr. Ghelfi, a psychiatrist, who assigned a 75% PPD rating to Hudson for the traumatic brain injury. Based Dr. Ghelfi’s opinion, Hudson filed a Petition to Vacate the Award. The WCCA found, also relying on Dr. Ghelfi’s opinion, that Hudson’s medical condition had substantially changed and accordingly vacated the Award.

The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed the decision of the WCCA and found that it abused its discretion when it granted Hudson’s petition to set aside the award of benefits. To set aside an award, a petitioner must prove: (1) a substantial change in medical condition; (2) that the change was clearly not anticipated; and (3) that the change could not reasonably have been anticipated. Here, the Court found Hudson’s medical evidence failed to satisfy the first condition because Dr. Ghelfi’s report lacked factual foundation. Dr. Ghelfi’s opinion was descriptively flawed because she never indicated what facts formed the basis of her opinion that Hudson’s traumatic brain injury warranted a PPD rating of 75%, nor did she explain how she calculated such a high PPD rating. Moreover, the factual support for Dr. Ghelfi’s PPD rating was lacking in the record.

Please contact attorney Lauren N. Harvey about any questions: Direct Phone: 952-345-9755 or email lnh@mccollumlaw.com

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