From the Desk of Attorney David L. Niefer
PRACTICE TIP: Separate MMI findings leading to separate permanency decisions arising out of the same accident can trigger the application of Genduso resulting in a credit from the initial SLU award.
As a general proposition, the case of Genduso v. New York City Dept. of Educ., 164 A.D.3d 1509 (2018), holds that when an SLU is awarded for a permanent impairment of an extremity, any subsequent award for impairment to any other part of the same extremity will be subject to a credit for the prior award. Thus, the mere fact that a prior work injury was to the shoulder and a subsequent work injury was to the elbow will not prevent the carrier from receiving credit for the SLU awarded to the arm on account of the initial shoulder injury. The question then arises as to whether multiple joint injuries to the same extremity arising out of the same accident result in the application of Genduso.
The case of Municipal Housing Authority, WCB G197 0000 (3/26/21) suggests that Genduso can apply under certain facts when multiple joints of the same extremity are injured in a single accident. In Municipal Housing Authority, the claim was initially established for an injury to the left elbow. The claimant achieved MMI and was awarded a 15% schedule loss of use of the left arm. Several months later, the claim was amended to include the left shoulder. The claimant subsequently was found to have a 20% schedule loss of use of the left arm (shoulder). The Administrative Law Judge deducted the previous 15% schedule due to the elbow injury and awarded an overall 20% schedule loss of use of the arm. Relying in part on the fact that “each portion of the same body part was addressed in separate decisions”, the Board Panel affirmed the application of Genduso even though the separate joint injuries arose out of the same accident.
If you have any questions about this or any other issue, contact David L. Niefer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (607) 723-0600 or any of the attorneys in our office. If you would like a training session on this or any area of the Workers’ Compensation Law, please do not hesitate to contact our firm.
This information is provided for general guidance only. This information should not be used as a substitute for consultation with legal counsel. Each case presents unique facts requiring individual analysis.