Brief Filed for Bus Driver in Workers' Compensation Appeal

In Garner v. Capital Area Transit, we have filed this brief with the North Carolina Court of Appeals in this workers' compensation case. Ms. Garner is a bus driver with Capital Area Transit in Raleigh who was injured was injured when another bus hit the bus she was driving. The primary issue is whether the Industrial Commission had any basis for ignoring the doctor's opinion that the accident aggravated Ms. Garner's pre-existing back condition. Valerie Johnson and Narendra Ghosh are representing Ms. Garner.

Here is the summary of our argument to the Court:

"Dr. Suh’s opinion that plaintiff’s March 2007 accident aggravated her pre-existing condition was based on undisputed facts: plaintiff’s bus was hit by another bus on March 9, 2007, plaintiff began to experience pain after she started driving her bus about an hour later, and plaintiff received medical treatment for the injury in the days and weeks after the accident. While the Full Commission apparently found some part of plaintiff’s testimony inconsistent with other evidence, there is no competent evidence in the record to support the Commission’s conclusion that Dr. Suh’s opinion was fatally undermined by unproven facts supplied by the plaintiff. To the contrary, the facts relied on by Dr. Suh were corroborated, not contradicted, by all of the testimony of other witnesses and the documentary evidence.

"The Full Commission also had no basis for concluding that Dr. Suh’s opinion was contradicted by other competent evidence. There was no competent expert testimony regarding the causation of plaintiff’s condition other than the opinion of Dr. Suh. Though unaddressed in its opinion, the Full Commission appears to have inappropriately relied upon the testimony of Michael Woodhouse, even though it did not question, much less reverse, the Deputy Commissioner’s conclusion that the Woodhouse testimony was inadmissible. As Woodhouse’s opinion is plainly inadmissible expert testimony, the Full Commission’s findings and conclusions regarding Dr. Suh cannot be sustained. Therefore, the Full Commission’s decision, which is predicated on its rejection of Dr. Suh’s opinion, must be reversed and vacated by this Court."