IN THE MATTER OF THE WORKER'S COMPENSATION CLAIM OF: TOMMY HOOD, Appellant (Petitioner),
STATE OF WYOMING, ex rel., DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE SERVICES, WORKERS' COMPENSATION DIVISION, Appellee (Respondent).
from the District Court of Natrona County The Honorable
Daniel L. Forgey, Judge
Representing Appellant/Petitioner: Stephenson D. Emery of
Williams, Porter, Day & Neville, P.C., Casper, Wyoming.
Representing Appellee/Respondent: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming
Attorney General; John D. Rossetti, Deputy Attorney General;
Michael J. Finn, Senior Assistant Attorney General; and Kelly
Shaw, Assistant Attorney General.
BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.
Tommy Hood suffered a neck injury at work in 2008. The
Wyoming Workers' Safety and Compensation Division
(Division) awarded him benefits related to that injury, and
paid his associated medical bills. In April 2011, Mr. Hood
began experiencing short losses of consciousness, known as
"syncope, " which he attributes to treatment of his
neck injury. The Division paid for attempts to diagnose the
cause of Mr. Hood's black outs, and paid for treatment of
injuries to his back, thumb, wrist and ear suffered when he
fell during syncope events. Mr. Hood then sought Division
approval for lower back surgery to treat another injury he
received from such a fall. The Division denied approval, and
the Medical Commission (Commission) upheld the Division's
determination that Mr. Hood had not proven that the need for
lower back surgery was directly related to the 2008 neck
injury. Mr. Hood appealed to the district court, which
affirmed the Commission. He now appeals the district
We conclude substantial evidence supports the
Commission's decision and the Commission appropriately
considered the evidence before it. We further find that the
Division's prior uncontested awards of benefits related
to syncope do not relieve Mr. Hood of the burden of proving
his new claim was directly related to a compensable injury.
Consequently, we affirm.
Mr. Hood states the issues as follows:
I. Whether the Medical Commission erred as a matter of law in
refusing to estop the Division from denying a
preauthorization request for lumbar spine surgery.
II. Whether the Medical Commission acted arbitrarily and
capriciously in ignoring Hood's testimony about
Division phrases the issues as:
I. Did the Division's decision to pay Hood some benefits
estop it from denying future benefits related to syncope?
II. Did the Medical Commission act arbitrarily and
capriciously when it denied Hood benefits after determining
that the benefits requested for injuries sustained during a