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Wyoming high court affirms denial of worker’s disability benefits

wrist injury

The Wyoming Supreme Court has upheld a determination by the state’s Medical Commission that an injured construction laborer was not entitled to permanent total disability benefits because of scant evidence supporting the man’s claim.

In Friday’s ruling, the high court sided with the Wyoming Medical Commission, which had affirmed a decision of the Department of Workforce Services, Workers’ Compensation Division, that denied an application for permanent total disability benefits filed by Fernando Rodriguez.

Mr. Rodriguez injured his wrist after falling out of a truck bed while working a construction job in 2007.

He received temporary partial disability and temporary total disability benefits between November 2007 and April 2008, but years later sought permanent benefits after complaining that chronic pain and related injuries stemming from the workplace incident prevented him from working in the construction field. 

Mr. Rodriguez, 53, is a Mexican immigrant who said his limited education and job experience only qualified him to work as a laborer.

The Wyoming Supreme Court agreed with the Medical Commission, which found Mr. Rodriguez was not a credible claimant because experts found he manipulated testing, exaggerated symptoms and displayed behavior at hearings that was inconsistent with his complaints.

The court ruled the commission did not act “arbitrarily and capriciously,” and that substantial evidence existed to support the body’s decision to deny Mr. Rodriguez’s application for permanent disability benefits.