A former school cafeteria worker failed to show that her employer must continue to pay for joint injections in the back despite their limited approval for use under state compensation parameters.
In Leuthard v Independent School District 912 -Milaca Minnesota The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued an appeal after finding that the court erred in finding that the worker's injury was a "rare exception" to enable deviation from treatment guidelines.
Margaret Leuthard worked as a school canteen. After a year of employment, she began to feel pain in her neck and reported difficulty seeing upwards. A doctor found that her repeated stress had created an injury to her upper neck and spine, and over the next four years she underwent various diagnostic tests and tried several treatments for her injury.
In July 2008, after other treatments failed to provide relief, she began receiving quarterly phase injections in her back for the next eight years and continued to take painkillers.
In September 201
Ms. Leuthard requested a hearing and argued that the injections were reasonable and necessary, but a workers' compensation judge rejected her request, arguing that the injections did not provide lasting relief and waived the applicable treatment parameters.
She appealed to the workers. The Compensation Court, which overturned the judge's decision in a 2-1 decision on the grounds that Leuthard's case was "a rare case that justifies a departure from the treatment parameters." The school district appealed to the state Supreme Court, which reviewed the decision.
The Court quashed the decision of the appeal, arguing that Mrs Leuthard's ongoing facet joint injections did not comply with the treatment parameters and that there was no evidence to support a departure from these parameters.
The court found that Leuthard's relief from the injections was "variable" and her medical records "showed a lack of progressive, objective, clinical improvement over several years of injections." The court also rejected the view that her case was rare and noted that she did not raise the "exception for rare cases" before the judge for workers' compensation and therefore could not do so on appeal.
As a result, the Court reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal and reinstated the decision of the Compensation Judge.