Court of Appeals overturns Circuit Court ruling that state employee was disabled
For the second straight day, a Court of Appeals panel overturned the Circuit Court's conclusion that a public employee was entitled to benefits. The panel included Judge Kirsten Kelly who is a Republican activist who never supports employee or victim rights and always votes in favor of the normal Republican constituency (i.e., large corporations, insurers and governmental entities).
In this case Toni Britton suffered from low back pain radiating into her leg that was not relieved by surgery or time in a Pain Clinic. Her doctors considered her disabled, however, they did not use the magic word "permanent" in describing her disability. The Appeals Court preferred the opinions of the medical examiners hired to contest her disability claim. One suggested she was "indefinitely disabled" while the other said she was not "incapable of any gainful employment." So under the Kirsten Kelly analysis, if you are only "indefinitely disabled" and possibly capable of some gainful employment, you are not "disabled" even if your doctors believe you are.
The opinion also took note of the fact that Britton's radiology reports did not confirm a herniated disc, however, medical studies over the past decade have clearly demonstrated that spinal radiology studies often don't correlate with pain: some of the people with the worst-looking x-ray studies have no pain; while patients with severe pain may not have any associated abnormality on MRI or EMG.