Evidence: Credibility

Cole v. Montana State Fund [03/18/15] 2015 MTWCC 4 Summary judgment is improper where Petitioner’s credibility is crucial to decisions of material fact, particularly when inconsistent statements in medical records attributed to her create issues of material fact as to whether she injured her shoulder at work.

Cole v. Montana State Fund [03/18/15] 2015 MTWCC 4 Under M.R.Evid. 803(7), the fact that Petitioner’s physician’s detailed record does not mention Petitioner’s fall at work is evidence indicating that she did not tell him about her fall or resulting injuries. The Court can draw a reasonable inference that Petitioner did not suffer an injury when she fell at work since it stands to reason she would have reported the injury to her physician during her appointment six days later.

Nease v. Montana Contractor Compensation Fund [08/14/13] 2013 MTWCC 20 Where Petitioner objected to the inclusion of medical records relating to a post-industrial-injury altercation because he alleged Respondent intended to use them to vilify him and attack his credibility, the Court held that it was within Respondent’s right to challenge Petitioner’s credibility.  If Respondent attempts to use the medical records to “vilify” Petitioner, Petitioner would have grounds to object to the line of questioning at trial, not to the exclusion of the records in advance of trial.

Weidow v. Uninsured Employers' Fund [01/22/10] 2010 MTWCC 2 Where no party objected to a witness testifying telephonically at trial, and no party raised any concerns regarding the identity of the witness or the possibility that he could refer to documents during his testimony, and the Court found that it could not evaluate the witness' demeanor nor determine whether he was being coached or improperly referring to documents, the Court noted that it was at a disadvantage to evaluate the witness' testimony. However, the witness also submitted an affidavit and other documentation which were admitted into evidence. While the Court found itself in a position where it could not truly assess the witness' credibility, the Court concluded that it could assign weight to the testimony.

Russell v. Watkins & Shepard [07/11/08] 2008 MTWCC 36 The Court did not find the diagnoses of various conditions allegedly arising from low-level carbon monoxide poisoning to be credible where the diagnosing physician had never treated another patient with suspected low-level carbon monoxide poisoning, none of the other medical experts of either party agreed with the diagnosing physician, and the diagnosing physician conceded that no peer-reviewed literature supported his conclusion that the results of various tests he performed supported the diagnosis.

A. Johnson v. Liberty [01/05/07] 2007 MTWCC 1 Petitioner claimed to have reported an industrial accident to a supervisor at about the same time as the supervisor left that employment, but no accident report was found. The Court did not find Petitioner’s industrial accident claim credible where Petitioner’s testimony was inconsistent, Petitioner did not describe the accident on the claim form she filed with Respondent, and Petitioner’s extensive contemporary medical records contained no evidence that Petitioner ever claimed that she was injured in a fall at work until nearly two years after she left her employment.
Rose v. State Fund [10/13/04] 2004 MTWCC 70 The claimant's assertion that he suffered a new industrial injury to his low back while working in logging is found not credible where: (1) he had suffered prior injuries to his back; (2) he worked only one day for the employer; (3) at the time of the alleged accident he was either taking narcotic drugs for his back pain or had run out of narcotic drugs because he had taken more than prescribed; (4) his wife attempted to prevent him from going back to work in logging in part because of his preexisting back pain; (5) his symptoms after the accident were the same as before, albeit he claimed that they were more severe; (6) his assertion that another employee had witnessed the accident was disputed by the other employee; (7) his description of the accident was incompatible with the mechanical operation during which he claims he was injured; and (8) he was in dire financial straits.
Hodge v. State Fund [1/17/01] 2001 MTWCC 1Where claimant is seeking additional workers' compensation benefits, evidence of fraud may be admissible irrespective of the insurer alleging an affirmative defense of fraud since such evidence may undermine claimant's credibility and his claim as to the nature and extent of his disability.
Young v. Liberty Northwest Insurance Corporation [8/25/00] 2000 MTWCC 51 Where three physicians and one physician's assistant found claimant's symptoms exaggerated and inconsistent with any objective medical condition, video surveillance suggested claimant was capable of more than she claimed, and Court found claimant not credible in testimony at trial and during videotaped deposition, claimant was not entitled to further medical treatment or temporary total disability benefits.