No Pain No Gain
On August 10, 2012, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released its opinion in Gold Kist, Inc. v. Delores Diane Smith wherein it reversed a permanent and total award. At trial, the parties stipulated that the employee’s right ankle fracture was compensable. Her medical treatment included a surgery to insert 3 screws and a plate followed by a second surgery to remove the hardware. Eventually, the employee was returned to work without restriction. Due to continued complaints of pain in her ankle and new complaints of trouble with her back, the employee opted to see her own doctor who performed an EMG. The test reportedly revealed allodynia (extreme sensitivity to touch) and mechanical allodynia (a gait disorder). The employee testified that, as a result of her injuries, she had trouble performing daily activities and failed to meet the physical demands of four subsequent employers. Based on the foregoing, the trial court removed the injury from the schedule due to complaints of severe pain and awarded permanent and total disability benefits.