The Wyoming Supreme Court has upheld a decision by the state’s medical board that an injured construction worker was ineligible for permanent total disability benefits because of little evidence to support the man’s claim.
In Friday’s ruling, the Supreme Court sided with the Wyoming Medical Commission, which had upheld a decision by the Department of Workforce Services, Workers’ Compensation Division, denying an application for permanent total disability benefits filed by Fernando Rodriguez.
Mr. Rodriguez injured his wrist after falling out of a truck bed while working on a construction job in 2007.
He received temporary partial disability and temporary total disability benefits between November 2007 and April 2008, but years later sought permanent benefits after complaining that chronic pain and related injuries stemming from the workplace incident prevented him from working in the construction industry.
Mr. Rodriguez, 53, is a Mexican immigrant who said his limited education and work experience only qualified him to work as a laborer.
The Wyoming Supreme Court agreed with the medical commission, which found Rodriguez was not a credible plaintiff because experts found he manipulated tests, exaggerated symptoms and exhibited behavior at hearings inconsistent with his complaint.
The court ruled that the commission did not act “arbitrarily and capriciously,”; and that there was substantial evidence to support the agency’s decision to deny Rodriguez’s application for permanent disability benefits.