Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Enterprise Leasing Company-South Central, LLC v. Drake

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

January 4, 2019

Enterprise Leasing Company-South Central, LLC
v.
Benson Drake

          Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court (CV-16-903224)

          MOORE, Judge.

         Enterprise Leasing Company-South Central, LLC ("the employer"), appeals from a judgment of the Jefferson Circuit Court ("the trial court") awarding workers' compensation benefits to Benson Drake ("the employee"). We reverse the trial court's judgment and remand the cause to the trial court.

         Procedural History

         On September 1, 2016, the employee filed a verified complaint against the employer[1] alleging, among other things, that, on August 21, 2015, he had suffered an injury to his left knee while acting in the line and scope of his employment with the employer and that he had also suffered an injury to his right knee as a result of the injury to his left knee. The employee sought an award of benefits pursuant to the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act ("the Act"), Ala. Code 1975, § 25-5-1 et seq. The employer filed an answer on October 12, 2016.

         On February 28, 2018, the parties filed in the trial court a number of stipulations of fact. A bench trial was conducted on March 8, 2018, after which both parties filed trial briefs with the court. On March 27, 2018, the trial court entered a final judgment in favor of the employee; on that same date, the trial court entered an amended judgment in favor of the employee and against the employer, assigning the employee "a 50% permanent partial impairment rating to both his legs as a result of his on-the-job-injuries" and concluding that the employee "is entitled to a 15% fee of the award for Permanent Partial Disability benefits." The employer filed a postjudgment motion on April 26, 2018; the trial court denied that motion on April 30, 2018. The employer filed its notice of appeal to this court on June 5, 2018.

         Facts

         The employee testified that he began working for the employer on May 17, 2000, as a driver who transported vehicles from one branch of the employer's automobile-rental business to another. He stated that, on certain days, he was tasked with moving vehicles from the "wash line" to the kiosks from which the vehicles were rented at the employer's airport location. The employee testified that he and the other drivers were transported in a 15-passenger van to the location from which they would move vehicles to the kiosks. According to the employee, on August 20, 2015, [2] his supervisor directed him and other drivers to move vehicles from the "wash line." He stated that, on the second or third trip he had made to move vehicles on that date, he slid out of the front passenger seat of the transport van and landed on his left heel, causing an explosion of pain in his left knee. The employee testified that he "shook it off" but that, as the day progressed, his left knee became swollen and he had difficulty walking.

         According to the employee, he went to the emergency room, where he was told that he had a severe sprain in his left knee; he was released with a cast on his left leg, pain medication, and a referral to Dr. Gaylon Rogers, an orthopedic surgeon. The employee testified that he had made an appointment with Dr. Rogers, who, he said, ultimately performed surgery on the employee's left knee before referring him to physical therapy and prescribing him pain medication. The employee stated that physical therapy had been unsuccessful and that Dr. Rogers had sent him to the Alabama Pain Clinic, where, at the time of trial, he was continuing to receive pain medication and injections in his left knee.

         The employee testified that, as a result of protecting his left knee, he had overworked his right knee; he testified further that he had been given an injection in his right knee to help alleviate the pain and swelling in that knee. According to the employee, at the time of the trial, he was still experiencing swelling in both of his knees.

         The employee testified that he was 81 years old at the time of the accident and that he had not been able to drive or work since that time. He stated that he cannot shower, use the bathroom, or get in and out of vehicles without assistance; that he can no longer mow the grass; that he can no longer "hold [his] wife"; and that he had not returned to work since the accident. According to the employee, he had had surgery on his left knee when he was 12 or 13 years old, but, he said, he had had no other surgeries on that knee since that time until the 2015 accident; he also testified that he had not had any surgeries on his right knee. The employee testified that he had been involved in an automobile accident in 2012, that he had experienced pain in his right knee at that time but it had not limited him from performing his duties for the employer, and that he had been able to perform his job without restrictions before the 2015 accident.

         The deposition of Dr. Rogers was submitted as an exhibit. In that deposition, Dr. Rogers testified, among other things, that the employee had cartilage tears and arthritis in his left knee and that, at the employee's age, osteoarthritis could sometimes cause such tears without an accident occurring. Dr. Rogers stated that he had discussed with the employee that he might do better with a total knee replacement, but, he said, the employee had not felt that was necessary. According to Dr. Rogers, the employee began having problems with his right knee approximately four months after the 2015 accident. Dr. Rogers testified that it was difficult to say whether the employee's right-knee injury had been caused by the injury to his left knee, particularly in light of the employee's age, because he did not have a history of treating the employee before his left-knee injury. He stated that the right-knee injury "certainly can be" caused by the left-knee injury. According to Dr. Rogers, the left-knee injury might have been present and the accident might have made it symptomatic, aggravating an already existing tear in the employee's knee. He stated that the employee's overuse of his right knee compensating for his left-knee injury could have contributed to cause the employee's right-knee symptoms. Dr. Rogers reiterated, however, that the employee's age and arthritis were the main contributors to his current conditions.

         Standard ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.