State News : Missouri

NWCDN is a network of law firms dedicated to protecting employers in workers’ compensation claims.

NWCDN Members regularly post articles and summary judgements in workers’ compensations law in your state.  

Select a state from the dropdown menu below to scroll through the state specific archives for updates and opinions on various workers’ compensation laws in your state.

Contact information for NWCDN members is also located on the state specific links in the event you have additional questions or your company is seeking a workers’ compensation lawyer in your state.




                                     Simon Law Group, P.C.

                  720 Olive Street, Suite 1720, St. Louis, MO  63101



                                      April 2023 – June 2023

Claimant Must Meet Burden to Show Job Duties, and Not Repetitive Activities at Home, are the Prevailing Factor in Causing Occupational Disease

Steinbach v. Maxion Wheels, Sedalia, LLC, Case No. WD85697 (Mo. App. 2023)

FACTS:  On November 13, 2018, the claimant filed a Claim for Compensation asserting that she suffered an occupational disease to her bilateral upper extremities. The claimant worked as a rework coordinator. Employer kept production records for the work performed by the rework coordinators. The production report showed the maximum number of wheels reworked on the shift in one day was 265 wheels, but the average number of wheels reworked in a day was 48 and averaged less than 60 seconds.

In December 2017, Dr. Ellefsen sent a letter to Employer opining that the claimant’s condition could not be attributed to her work. He reviewed the production records for rework coordinators. He was also concerned about the welding she was doing at home.

Evidence of the claimant’s non work-related welding activities was also presented at the Hearing. She began welding in her basement in 2017 and purchased 4,154 pounds of scrap steel from Employer. She testified that she intended to start her own business, but that her plan did not work out.

The claimant built furniture, medieval-style weapons, toys, and other small items. A witness testified that her husband and some neighbors worked in the basement of her house along with her almost every night making items with the scrap metal.

In his report, Dr. Stuckmeyer noted that the claimant told him that “she would continuously grind wheels, up to 1,000 wheels per night.” He also noted that she had told Dr. Ellefsen that she used a large grinder at work and was exposed to vibratory and torquing tools eight hours a day, five to seven days a week, and did some welding at home but on a very occasional basis, describing it as “craft welding.” He opined that although the claimant did do outside welding at home, the intense repetitive nature of the occupational duties was prevailing factor” causing her bilateral carpal tunnel.

At the Hearing, the ALJ denied the case. The Judge found that the claimant’s testimony about her work activity and her welding activity at home was not credible, that Dr. Stuckmeyer’s opinion was not credible because she provided an inaccurate work history, and that Dr. Ellefsen’s opinions were more credible because they were based on a more accurate description of her work activities.

HOLDING:  The claimant appealed to the Commission, which affirmed the ALJ’s opinion. She then appealed again. The Court noted that the claimant had the burden to show her injury was compensable. While she met her burden of production by introducing Dr. Stuckmeyer’s report, she failed to meet the burden of persuasion. The Commission rejected Dr. Stuckmeyer’s opinion and the Court affirmed the Commission’s decision.

Benefits Denied When Claimant Did Not Sustain an Accident or Fall but Instead Incurred Heat Exhaustion Which is a Risk He Would be Equally Exposed to Outside of Work

Baty v. Dairy Farmers of America, Injury No. 18-029696

FACTS:  On July 9, 2019, the claimant was working at Employer’s warehouse. While performing very light duty work that mostly consisted of observing automated machinery and products moving through the machinery, the claimant began to feel ill, including sweating, hot, shortness of breath, and some chest pain. When the claimant could not cool down, he was transported in a supervisor’s personal vehicle to the emergency room.

On July 11, 2019, once again, even though the claimant indicated he was still not feeling well, he showed up for work for his afternoon shift, starting at 3:00 p.m. on a day where the reported high temperature was cooler at 86 degrees. After beginning his light duty work in the warehouse, within a few minutes, he indicated he was again feeling much worse and he was hot and sweaty. Subsequently, he was sitting on a ledge of a piece of machinery when coworkers noticed him slumping down to the floor. None of the witnesses observed the claimant fall or strike his head or sustain any trauma. In fact, it was the testimony of the claimant that no one witnessed the accident, and that no one knew how he ended up on the floor.

It was noted in the medical records, that several physicians, inaccurately, concluded that the claimant fell at work, hit his head, and was knocked unconscious.

At hearing, the ALJ denied benefits, finding that the claimant did not sustain an accidental injury or occupational disease which arose out of his employment. The claimant appealed.

HOLDING: The Commission noted that the burden of establishing entitlement to compensation is entirely upon the claimant. The Commission noted that the claimant was not performing strenuous work activity and was working in a warehouse on a day of normal summertime weather. It further noted that there was not any testimony that the heat inside the warehouse on either day was abnormally hot or significantly hotter or warmer than the outside temperature, meaning the claimant would have been equally exposed to the heat outside of the plant as he was inside the plant.

The claimant testified to a pre-existing issue involving heat related conditions in his 20’s. The claimant’s own medical expert, Dr. Schuman testified that because of a prior heat exhaustion or heat stroke, that it would make an individual more prone to having a lower threshold to sustain another heat related injury. However, Dr. Schuman was not aware that the claimant had in fact sustained a pre-existing heat related condition or possibly heat stroke.

The Commission found that the testimony of Dr. Lennard and Dr. Farrar was more credible than Dr. Schuman and therefore the decision of the ALJ was affirmed.

Section 287.780 Does Not Prohibit an Employer from Discriminating Against a Former Employee for Exercising Their Workers’ Compensation Rights

Lisle v. Meyer Electric Co., Inc., Case No. SC99670 (Mo. S. Ct. 2023)

FACTS: In May 2017, Meyer Electric hired the claimant, a commercial electrical contractor, to work on a construction project. On May 2, 2018, the claimant advised Mr. Mehrhoff, his foreman, that he was suffering from work related carpal tunnel syndrome and asked to complete an injury report. Mr. Mehrhoff allegedly replied, “If you ask for an injury report, they will lay you off.” Subsequently, Meyer Electric’s president, Leon Keller, became aware that the claimant wanted to file an injury report and a workers’ compensation claim, and therefore terminated the claimant’s employment. After his termination, the claimant filed a workers’ compensation claim and a lawsuit against Meyer Electric, alleging wrongful discharge under Section 287.780.

In June 2019, more than a year after Meyer Electric terminated the claimant’s employment, the claimant saw Meyer Electric’s job posting for a journeyman electrician. The claimant who was unemployed and pursuing his wrongful discharge claim against Meyer Electric at the time, applied for the job. Mr. Mehrhoff said he “would probably hire [the claimant] back.” The claimant received a union referral notice, a union-issued document that a member takes to the work site to begin work. After receiving the referral, however, his foreman texted the claimant that the president had instructed him not to hire the claimant.

In November 2019, the claimant filed this pending lawsuit against Meyer Electric. He alleged Meyer Electric violated Section 287.780 when it did not hire him in June 2019 in retaliation for exercising his workers’ compensation rights in May 2018. Meyer Electric filed a Motion for Summary Judgement in which it asserted the uncontroverted material facts affirmatively negated an element of the claimant’s claim because he was not an employee in June when Meyer Electric chose not to hire him. The Circuit Court sustained the Motion and entered summary judgment in Meyer Electric’s favor.

HOLDING: The claimant appealed arguing that the Circuit Court erred in sustaining Meyer Electric’s Motion for Summary Judgment because Section 287.780 prohibits employers from discriminating against former employees for exercising their workers’ compensation rights. He also claimed the Circuit Court erred in entering summary judgment because the evidence was sufficient to allow a jury to find Meyer Electric refused to hire him in retaliation for exercising his rights under Chapter 287 during their prior employment relationship.

Section 287.780 provides: “No employer or agent shall discharge or discriminate against any employee for exercising any of his or her rights under this chapter when the exercising of such rights is the motivating factor in the discharge or discrimination…”

However, the Court held that under strict construction, “Employer” and “Employee” are defined narrowly so that the protections and sanctions in Section 278.780 apply only to employers and employees in a current employment relationship. Because the claimant was not an employee of Meyer Electric when it refused to hire him in June 2019, Meyer Electric established its right to judgment, as a matter of law. Therefore, the Circuit Court’s judgment was affirmed.

Claimant Properly Awarded Benefits for PTSD When Evidence Demonstrated Actual Events Experienced Caused Extraordinary and Usual Stress

City of Clinton v. Dahman, Case No. WD85780 (Mo. App. 2023)

FACTS: Dahman worked as a patrol officer for the City of Clinton’s police department. On August 6, 2017, he was working an overnight shift. Officer Michael was a good friend of Dahman’s. Dahman heard Officer Michael report over the radio, “Shots fired. Officer hit.” Dahman responded to the scene. On his way, he heard over his radio that the suspect vehicle had fled. When he arrived, Dahman found Officer Michael unconscious on the ground. Dahman testified that he was in shock that Officer Michael had been shot, and later died. He was one of Officer Michael’s pallbearers.

Later, Dahman watched security camera video footage which showed Officer Michael conducting the traffic stop of the suspect’s vehicle. The manhunt for the suspect took several days. After the suspect was apprehended, Dahman was scheduled to be a witness at his trial.

Starting immediately after the August 2017 incident, Dahman began to experience adverse symptoms including fatigue, anxiety, tightness in the chest, insomnia, lack of motivation, and a sense of helplessness. He resigned from the police department in October 2017 since he felt he could not do his job due to his fear of being shot.

The City of Clinton had the claimant examined by a second psychiatrist, Dr. Khalid who diagnosed Dahman with PTSD. Dr. Khalid agreed that the prevailing factor causing Dahman’s PTSD was the August 2017 incident, and that the stress he experienced in connection with that incident was extraordinary and unusual. However, by June 2021, in light of the improvement in Dahman’s condition, Dr. Khalid concluded that he did not have a permanent partial disability associated with his PTSD and was not in need of further psychiatric treatment for that condition.

The ALJ issued a final Award finding that Dahman’s PTSD was a compensable occupational disease caused by the August 2017 incident. The Judge found that Dahman had 10% PPD. The ALJ’s Award specifically found by objective standards that Dahman’s work related stress was both extraordinary and unusual and met the requirements of Section 287.120.8. The City appealed the Judge’s award. The Commission affirmed the award.

HOLDING:  The City of Clinton again appealed. The Court noted that three mental health experts, and the City’s Chief of Police, uniformly testified that the circumstances to which Dahman was exposed in August 2017 were extraordinary and unusual. To establish his right to compensation, the claimant need not show the subjective experiences of his fellow workers were not as severe as his experiences, but rather, he must demonstrate the actual events he experienced were such that a reasonable police officer would experience extraordinary and unusual stress. It was also noted that while Dr. Halfaker testified that some measure of danger and exposure to crime scenes is common in police work, he also testified that the particular stresses to which the claimant was exposed in August 2017 were extraordinary and unusual.

Therefore, the Court concluded that the Commission’s decision was supported by sufficient competent evidence that the claimant’s PTSD was caused by work related stress which was extraordinary and unusual, measured by objective standards and actual events.

Employer/Insurer Must Have Authorized the Treatment for Medical Provider to Have Standing in Medical Fee Dispute

Henry v. LZB Manufacturing, Inc., Injury No. 18-029696

FACTS:  The claimant reported a minor incident to his left shoulder occurring in July of 2014. Employer denied any medical treatment. Instead of providing or directing the claimant for medical treatment, he was told by a supervisor, that he could utilize a massage therapist being paid for and provided by the employer. In Fall of 2017, the claimant testified the pain in his left shoulder and neck got so bad that he once again went and directly requested medical treatment from the employer.

Thereafter, the claimant went to the emergency room at Freeman Health System on his own. He had an injection to the left shoulder and an MRI which showed tears. In March 2018, Dr. Sweaney performed a two-level cervical fusion.

Dr. Koprivica opined that employee had 25% to 30% PPD of the body for the cervical spine and 15% for the left shoulder. Dr. Lennard did not believe his condition was work related.

Based on the evidence, the ALJ found Dr. Koprivica’s report and opinions more persuasive and credible. The Judge found that the claimant’s work injury was compensable and his treatment was related back to the work injury.

On the issue of the Medical Fee Dispute filed on behalf of Freeman Health System, the ALJ found that the medical care and treatment received by the claimant regarding the left shoulder and cervical spine, including the surgery, represented reasonable, usual and customary treatment necessary in an attempt to cure and relieve the effects of the work injuries based on the medical opinion of Dr. Koprivica. Therefore, the ALJ found the Employer liable for the Medical Fee Disputes for treatment provided by Freeman Health System, respectively $94,378.59 and $29,398.00.

HOLDING: The Employer/Insurer appealed the ALJ’s award to the Commission, in part, stating that the ALJ erred in awarding Freeman direct payment of $94,328.59 and $29,398.00 pursuant to the Medical Fee Disputes, because the Employer/Insurer did not authorize the treatment.

With respect to Medical Fee Disputes, it was noted that under Section 287.140.13(6) that a medical provider may file a Medical Fee Dispute regarding services that have been authorized in advance by the Employer or Insurer.

It was noted that no party disputed that the employer refused to authorize medical treatment. It was also noted that the Division has the power to reject an Application for Direct Payment if the Application does not pertain to a dispute relating to services that were authorized in advance by the Employer or Insurer.

Therefore, the Commission affirmed the ALJ’s finding, based on Dr. Koprivica’s opinion, that the charges of Freeman Health System represented reasonable, usual and customary treatment necessary to cure and relieve the effects of the claimant’s compensable claim. However, the Commission modified the Award finding that the Employer/Insurer was directly responsible for these charges and that the Medical Fee Disputes were dismissed without standing. The remaining portions of the ALJ’s award were affirmed.

For SIF PTD Liability, Claimant Must Meet 50 Week Threshold for Each Separate Body Part for Pre-existing Disability to Qualify

Casey v. Second Injury Fund., Injury No. 16-050548

FACTS:  The claimant’s primary injury involved bilateral carpal tunnel releases and bilateral ulnar nerve transposition surgeries. The claimant settled his primary claim for 15% of each wrist, 15% of each elbow, a 10% loading factor, and eight weeks of disfigurement.

The claimant had sustained pre-existing disabilities prior to the primary injury. In 2006, he injured his right knee while working and settled this claim for 10% of the right knee in 2007.

In 2012, the claimant sustained an injury at work to his left wrist, left knee and left ankle. The claimant settled this claim for 10% of the left wrist, 20% of the left knee, and 22.5% of the left ankle.

The claimant obtained an IME from Dr. Volarich. Regarding the 2016 primary injury, Dr. Volarich provided PPD ratings of 35% of each wrist and 35% of each elbow. Regarding the pre-existing conditions, he provided PPD ratings of 15% of each wrist, 60% of the right knee, 35% of the left knee, and 40% of the left ankle. He opined that the claimant was PTD as a result of the 2016 primary injury in combination with his pre-existing medical conditions.

The claimant sought a vocational assessment from Ms. Shea. She opined that the claimant was not employable and his inability to be employed was the result of the primary work related injury and his pre-existing injuries and conditions.

The ALJ determined that the SIF was liable for PTD.

HOLDING: The SIF appealed the ALJ’s award for PTD benefits against the Fund.

The Commission disagreed with the Fund’s allegation that the ALJ erred in finding the claimant’s pre-existing 2006 right knee was equal to or greater than 50 weeks of PPD. The Commission explained that they must determine the extent of PPD that the claimant had in his right knee at the time of the June 2016 primary injury. They noted that the 2007 settlement may be evidence of PPD in the knee at the time of the settlement but it is not determinative of the PPD present nine years later in 2016. They found credible, persuasive evidence demonstrated that the claimant had 32.5% PPD of the right knee (52 weeks) pre-existing the 2016 primary injury.

However, the Commission did agree with the Fund that the ALJ erred in adding together three separate and distinct disabilities to different parts of the body as a result of one injury to reach the required threshold amount under Section 287.220.3. They did not find any authority to allow combining disabilities occurring to different parts of the body in order to reach the 50 week threshold in Section 287.220.3(2)(a).

Also, the Commission agreed with the Fund that the ALJ erred in awarding PTD benefits because the claimant’s total disability resulted from the combination of the primary injury and non-qualifying pre-existing disabilities. It was noted that the claimant’s experts, Dr. Volarich and Ms. Shea opined that the PTD was a result of a combination of the prior injury and the pre-existing conditions. The experts included the claimant’s non-qualifying pre-existing disabilities in arriving at their PTD opinions. As such, the Commission concluded that the claimant failed to meet the requirements of Section 287.220.3 to make a compensable PTD claim against the Fund.

Therefore, the Commission reversed the Award of the ALJ. The claimant’s claim against the Fund was denied because his evidence failed to satisfy the standard set forth under Section 287.220.3.