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Worker’s pain complaints ‘not credible’: Appeals court


A chicken processing plant worker who underwent surgery to both hands for a compensable work injury and complained of pain afterward cannot collect additional compensation for her injury, as medical evidence proved she had reached maximum improvement and could work unrestricted, an appeals court in Nebraska ruled Tuesday.

In affirming a 2018 workers compensation court ruling, the Court of Appeals of Nebraska also ruled that Oneyda Jordan’s complaints of pain were “not credible,” given testimony from co-workers and supervisors that “following her surgeries, Jordan would only complain of hand pain after she was not able to move to a different job or when she was not getting along with her co-workers,” according to the latest ruling in Oneyda Jordan v. Tyson Fresh Meats Inc., filed in Papillion, Nebraska.

Ms. Jordan, who injured her hands in 2013 while cutting meat at a Tyson processing facility and was deemed 3% disabled in both hands following treatment, claimed that “her subjective complaints of pain” post-surgery “should weigh heavily in her favor to support a loss of earning capacity under” state law, thus awarding her extra benefits, according to documents. The compensation court, however, "noted several inconsistencies and contradictions in the evidence,” which caused the appeals court to affirm the compensation court’s assessment in denying additional benefits.

The compensation court documents state the court “did not find she was in extreme pain or in any discomfort at all, contrary to her assertions” and that she looked “bored” in court and not in pain. “Additionally, Jordan testified that because of her injuries she was unable to carry groceries into her house and had to have someone help her with that task” but "surveillance video showed a much different version of her capabilities," documents state.

The compensation court also noted "testimony from co-workers that (her) complaints would wax and wane with perceived difficulties she was having with her boss or co-workers” and that “none of the medical evidence supported Jordan's subjective complaints, which one doctor described as `excessive and bizarre.'"

“The record reflects that (her doctor) placed her at (maximum medical improvement) in February 2017, and she was released to work with no restrictions,” documents state. “She continued to complain of pain, and for periods of time was given temporary restrictions pending further study… however she was always returned to unrestricted work once the study results were received. And as noted by the compensation court, ‘no physician has said (Ms. Jordan) is incapable of full-duty, unrestricted work."






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