IN THE MATTER OF THE WORKER'S COMPENSATION CLAIM OF: WILLIAM H. ROGERS, Appellant (Petitioner/Claimant),
RUSSELL CONSTRUCTION COMPANY, INC., Appellee (Respondent/Employer).
from the District Court of Converse County The Honorable John
C. Brooks, Judge.
Representing Appellant Jeremy J. Hugus, Platte River Law
Firm, Casper, Wyoming
Representing Appellee Denny Harts, Attorney at Law, Douglas,
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
William Rogers appeals from a district court order affirming
the Office of Administrative Hearing's (OAH) denial of
his claim for worker's compensation benefits. We affirm.
Rogers raises two issues relating to the OAH decision. We
restate them as follows:
1. Was the hearing examiner's determination that Rogers
failed to prove a compensable workplace injury supported by
substantial evidence, and if so, was it nonetheless arbitrary
2. Was the hearing examiner's determination that Rogers
failed to prove that the late filing of his report of injury
did not prejudice his employer or the Workers'
Compensation Division (Division) supported by substantial
evidence, and if so, was it nonetheless arbitrary and
of our resolution of the first issue, we need not reach the
On November 19, 2013, Rogers was working at the Dave Johnson
Power Plant near Glenrock for Russell Construction Company
(Russell), along with his supervisor Blake Palmer and another
worker, George Emery. The three men were pouring and finishing
concrete in a footer form that was sixteen inches wide and
eight to twelve inches deep, with vertical rebar dowels
sticking up in its center. The form was in a trench that was
two and a half to three feet deep. Palmer was guiding the
chute of the concrete mixer truck while Rogers and Emery
worked to level and finish the poured concrete. Approximately
fifteen feet from a ninety degree turn in the form, and just
past a point where several pipes or conduits crossed the
trench, the chute momentarily caught on a piece of wire
attached to the rebar and then popped up with some force.
Rogers claimed that when it sprang up, the chute came close
to his head, startled him, and caused him to step back. He
testified that when he did so, he tripped and fell backward
against a ledge of old concrete protruding from the side of
the trench. He also claimed that Palmer was facing him, and
he was so close he must have seen the fall, and that Palmer
in fact asked him if he was all right after he stood up.
However, Palmer and Emery testified that Rogers was farther
away from the chute, at the corner of the trench, and
separated from it by conduit. Both testified that they did
not see Rogers fall, despite their proximity to where Rogers
claimed to have been injured. Furthermore, they testified
that he did not mention that he had fallen during the pour.
Rogers continued to work that day and afterward, and he did
not seek medical attention for nearly a month.
On December 18, 2013, he spent most of the day knocking down
a portion of a cement block wall with a hammer
drill. He felt unusually stiff and sore at the
end of the day, and he therefore visited the emergency room
at the Memorial Hospital of Converse County.
A report concerning diagnostic x-rays of Rogers' spine
taken during that visit revealed that he had undergone some
kind of previous lumbar spine study at that facility in early
2009. A radiologist who reviewed the films found
no fractures, but he did observe partial sacralization of the
fifth lumbar and first sacral vertebrae. The report reflected
an essentially fused disc space at that level, as well as
minimal spondylolisthesis at the fourth and fifth lumbar
vertebrae, which reduced the disc space
somewhat. The report noted no instability on flexion