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Craig v. De Berge

Supreme Court of Arizona

April 26, 1948

DE BERGE et al

Appeal by Certiorari from Award of Industrial Commission of Arizona.

Proceeding under the Workmen's Compensation Act by Ralph D. Craig, claimant, opposed by Ray DeBerge, doing business as the DeBerge Electric Company, employer. From an award of the Industrial Commission denying claimant further compensation, he appeals by certiorari.

Award affirmed.

Fred O. Wilson, of Phoenix, for petitioner.

Robert E. Yount, of Phoenix (H. S. McCluskey, of Phoenix, of counsel), for respondents.

Udall, Justice. Stanford, C. J., and LaPrade, J., concur.


Udall, Justice.

[67 Ariz. 169] Ralph D. Craig, petitioner, has brought this matter here by writ of certiorari to have reviewed an award made by the Industrial Commission of Arizona (hereafter termed the Commission) on November 19, 1946, (supplemented by a nunc pro tunc order of December 5, 1946, making a slight adjustment in amounts) denying the petitioner further compensation. A petition for rehearing was granted and on May 27, 1947, a final order was entered affirming the amended decision of November 19, 1946. It is only these awards that are now

Page 443

before us for consideration. The respondent employer makes no appearance as he [67 Ariz. 170] is insured under the State Compensation Fund.

It is not disputed that the petitioner, a married man of the age of 56 years, while in the employ of respondent employer, Ray DeBerge, on December 20, 1943, received an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment, nor is the amount of his earnings now in controversy. It appears that while descending a stairway with narrow steps, carrying a load of merchandise in his arms weighing approximately 75 pounds, his foot slipped one or more steps and he came down with his weight on his right foot. He felt an immediate sharp pain in the region of his lower back. The injury was immediately reported to his employer, who directed him to a physician. He was first examined and treated by Dr. G. Robert Barfoot, who, in his initial report to the Commission, described the injury as "tenderness over both sacroiliac joints at the sacrolumbar region". He further stated that the X-ray examination made by W. Warner Watkins, M.D. showed "negative for recent injury, old sacroilaic arthritis". That the physician did not consider this injury serious was evidenced by the fact that he estimated treatment for about two weeks would permit the petitioner to return to his usual work.

However, treatment of petitioner was ineffective as various complications arose which somewhat baffled, for a time, the medical practitioners who examined and treated him. The injured man was never able to return to his usual work nor was he thereafter capable of doing even light work. The Commission immediately after the injury assumed jurisdiction awarding petitioner temporary total disability. As a result of various hearings and rehearings, awards and amended awards (which we deem unnecessary to chronicle), there was paid to the petitioner between the date of the injury and November 19, 1946, (when further compensation was denied) sums aggregating $ 5250.67. During this entire period petitioner was treated with utmost kindness and consideration. The Commission furnished him with the best of medical care, as, in all, more than a dozen of the leading physicians and surgeons of the state examined and re-examined him using all of the most modern scientific treatments and devices known to the profession, such as extensive laboratory examinations at the Pathological Laboratory and Physiotherapy at Lois Grunow Clinic; also numerous X-ray pictures were taken. The entire personnel of the State Medical Advisory Board on more than one occasion carefully reviewed his case. Ultimately on November 12, 1946, Drs. W. W. Watkins, A. C. Kingsley, J. M. Greer and J. Lytton-Smith, who had been appointed by the Commission under its rule No. 55, submitted a report which reads in part:

"Comments: As a result of our examination and review of the file, we are of the opinion that the patient's present disability is not related to the injury sustained on December 20, 1943." It was [67 Ariz. 171] upon the basis of this medical report that the Commission determined that the terminal point had been reached and entered its order denying further compensation.

Our task in making this review has been made more difficult by reason of the fact that attorney for petitioner has not complied with the rules which require assignments of error but is relying wholly upon some nine propositions of law. Respondents nevertheless have met the arguments advanced by petitioner in his brief, hence, in order to do justice to the injured man, we have painstakingly examined the ...

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