Patterson Harkavy Prevails in Workers’ Comp Case In Court of Appeals

In Campbell v. National Pipe and Plastics Inc. the Plaintiff, Sherron Campbell, was represented in part by Narendra Ghosh of Patterson Harkavy.  The North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled for the plaintiff in affirming the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s Opinion and Award, which had awarded workers’ compensation benefits to Ms. Campbell.

Ms. Campbell suffered injuries to her right hand and fingers when attempting to stop her fall by grabbing a nearby pipe.  This injury and resulting disability also aggravated Ms. Campbell’s depression, which had been manageable up to this point.  In the appeal, the defendants contended that the Commission erred in assigning weight to Dr. Williams’ testimony, arguing that they considered it to be speculative because he did not identify a specific degree to which Ms. Campbell’s compensable injury by accident had exacerbated her preexisting condition.   However, the Court held that Dr. Williams did not need to determine to what degree the workplace injury exacerbated the psychological condition, but only that it was a factor in the exacerbation of Ms. Cambell’s preexisting condition.  The defendants also contended that the Commission did not determine if plaintiff’s statements to her doctor were credible, but the Court ruled that a doctor is entitled to rely on information provided by the patient to form his opinion.  And, in any event, the Court of Appeals does not have authority to reweigh evidence or credibility determinations after the Commission has considered it.  Defendants’ final argument that the Commission erred in giving weight to Dr. Prakken’s opinion was overruled by the Court, which concluded that the Commission does not need to explain why it has given weight to particular evidence.