Evidence: Conflicting

MONTANA SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

Wright v. Ace American, 2011 MT 43, 359 Mont. 332, 249 P.3d 485 Where the treating physician and another physician with different specialties offered differing opinions regarding the claimant’s care, the Montana Supreme Court held that the Workers’ Compensation Court was in a better position to resolve any conflicts in the evidence.

Gamble v. Sears, 2007 MT 131, 337 Mont. 354, 160 P.2d 537 Where the evidence relied on by the WCC rises above the level of “trifling or frivolous” and constitutes far more than a mere “scintilla” of evidence, and the Montana Supreme Court concludes that a reasonable mind could accept it as adequate to support the WCC’s finding that the claimant’s odontoid was fractured in her industrial accident, it is irrelevant that contradictory evidence presented by the employer may adequately support a different finding. The Montana Supreme Court’s role is not to resolve conflicts in the evidence or to determine whether the evidence would support contrary findings.
Gamble v. Sears, 2007 MT 131, 337 Mont. 354, 160 P.2d 537 When reviewing the WCC’s findings of fact, the court does not resolve conflicts in evidence and does not consider whether evidence supports findings that are different than those made by the WCC. Review is confined to determining whether substantial credible evidence supports the findings made by the WCC.

Wilson v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins., 273 Mont. 313, 903 P.2d 785 (1995) While the Supreme Court is in as good a position to judge the weight of medical evidence presented by deposition as the Workers’ Compensation Court, that review must be considered in light of the other evidence presented at trial that was relevant to the medical issue. Where claimant’s live testimony was not credited by the Workers’ Compensation Court, and the medical evidence favoring claimant depended on the credibility of his complaints, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s conclusion that claimant did not prove ongoing connection between his 1988 and 1986 injuries and a back condition commencing in 1993.

 
MONTANA WORKERS' COMPENSATION COURT DECISIONS

Poindexter v. Montana State Fund [11/19/10] 2010 MTWCC 31 Where the employer, the claims adjuster, and a former employee all testified that the employer typically made modified work available to injured workers and where the employer described proposed job duties which would have fit within Petitioner’s restrictions, I found their testimony more credible than Petitioner’s.

Hagemann v. Montana Contractor Compensation Fund [07/10/08] 2008 MTWCC 35 The determination as to whether Petitioner’s pulmonary conditions were work-related came down to the conflicting opinions of two physicians – Petitioner’s treating physician, who is a board-certified internist who sees pneumonia and pulmonary embolisms as a regular part of her practice, and Respondent’s IME doctor, who has never treated a pulmonary embolism and last treated a case of pneumonia in the early 1980s. Not only does Petitioner’s treating physician’s opinion carry greater weight because she was the treating physician, but the Court also finds her qualifications regarding the diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia and pulmonary embolisms to be more substantial than the qualifications of Respondent’s IME doctor.