Trial Judge Orders Employer to Pay for Pain Management Despite Opinion of Two Treating Physicians that Pain was not Related to Job Injury
Ex parte El Reposo Nursing Home Group, Inc.
On September 16, 2011, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals released this opinion wherein it denied the employer’s petition for a writ of mandamus. At the trial court level, the matter was bifurcated and, following a trial, the judge issued an order finding the employee’s back injury and resulting pain compensable. As a result, the employer began paying for the employee’s medical care. During the course of the employee’s treatment, two authorized treating physicians agreed that pain management was necessary but that the pain was not related to the job injury. One of the doctors testified at deposition that, because the employee had the pain prior to the work accident, that the pain management should be paid by the employee’s private health insurance rather than by the employer. Despite the opinions of the doctors, the trial judge ordered the employer to pay for the treatment. The employer then filed a petition for a writ of mandamus asking the Court of Appeals to order the trial judge to reverse his order. The Court of Appeals denied the petition because the opinions of the doctors regarding causation were rendered irrelevant by the judge’s previous order which related the pain to the job injury.