CITY OF FLAGSTAFF, Petitioner Employer, SCF ARIZONA, Petitioner Carrier,
THE INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION OF ARIZONA, Respondent, RICK A. BUNCH, Respondent Employee
Amended Per Order Filed February 24, 2015.
Special Action - Industrial Commission. ICA Claim No. 20072-560464. Carrier Claim No. 0730712. Allen B. Shayo, Administrative Law Judge.
SCF Arizona, Phoenix, By John W. Main, Counsel for Petitioners Employer and Carrier.
Industrial Commission of Arizona, Phoenix, By Andrew F. Wade, Counsel for Respondent.
Taylor & Associates, PLLC, Phoenix, By Thomas C. Whitley, Counsel for Respondent Employee.
Judge Jon W. Thompson delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Andrew W. Gould and Judge Peter B. Swann joined.
[236 Ariz. 607] THOMPSON, Judge:
[¶1] This is a special action review of an Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) award and decision upon review awarding the respondent employee (claimant) mileage expenses he incurred for travel to receive medical treatment. One issue is presented on appeal: whether the administrative law judge (ALJ) erred by awarding the claimant mileage reimbursement for his travel from Flagstaff to Phoenix, when medical treatment was available in Flagstaff. Because the evidence of record did not establish that the claimant had to travel to Phoenix to obtain treatment, we set aside the award.
JURISDICTION AND STANDARD OF REVIEW
[¶2] This court has jurisdiction pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § § 12-120.21(A)(2) (2003), 23-951(A) (2012), and Arizona Rule of Procedure for Special Actions 10. In reviewing findings and awards of the ICA, we defer to the ALJ's factual findings, but review questions of law de novo. Young v. Indus. Comm'n, 204 Ariz. 267, 270, ¶ 14, 63 P.3d 298, 301 (App. 2003). We consider the evidence in a light most favorable to upholding the ALJ's award. Lovitch v. Indus. Comm'n, 202 Ariz. 102, 105, ¶ 16, 41 P.3d 640, 643 (App. 2002).
PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL HISTORY
[¶3] The claimant lived in Flagstaff and performed maintenance work at the petitioner employer's, City of Flagstaff's (Flagstaff's), wastewater treatment plant. On August 9, 2007, he sustained an industrial neck and back strain. The claimant filed a workers' compensation claim, which was accepted for benefits by the petitioner carrier, SCF Arizona (SCF). The claimant received extensive conservative treatment in Flagstaff from an orthopedic surgeon, a pain management specialist, and a neurosurgeon.
[¶4] The claimant's claim was eventually closed with a 5% unscheduled permanent partial impairment, no loss of earning capacity (LEC), and a supportive care award. ...