GRACE AOKI vs. CITY OF TORRANCE, Permissibly Self-Insured

In this case, Grace Aoki, an employee of the City of Torrance, sustained an industrial injury to her right shoulder on November 29, 2007. The workers' compensation administrative law judge (WCJ) issued a Joint Findings and Award and Order, awarding in relevant part 46% permanent disability. The City of Torrance filed a Petition for Reconsideration, contending that the agreed medical evaluator (AME) impermissibly combined a rating for weakness of shoulder motion and loss of grip strength with a rating for range of motion loss in the shoulder. After reconsideration, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board amended the permanent disability award to 20%, based on the rating of 16.02 - 11(7) - 15

CITY OF TORRANCE, Permissibly Self-Insured GRACE AOKI WORKERS’ COMPENSATION APPEALS BOARDSTATE OF CALIFORNIAGRACE AOKI, Applicant,vs.CITY OF TORRANCE, Permissibly Self-Insured, Defendant.Case No. ADJ6757080(Long Beach District Office)OPINION AND DECISION AFTER RECONSIDERATION            On June 18, 2012, we granted defendant’s Petition for Reconsideration in order to allow sufficient opportunity to further study the factual and legal issues in this case. This is our Decision After Reconsideration.            Applicant, while employed as a library page on November 29, 2007, sustained an industrial injury to her right shoulder. On March 27, 2012, the workers’ compensation administrative law judge (WCJ) issued a Joint Findings and Award and Order, awarding in relevant part 46% permanent disability. The permanent disability award was based on the report of Seymour L. Alban, the agreed medical evaluator (AME), dated August 10, 2011 (Exhibit X).            Defendant filed a timely, verified Petition for Reconsideration, contending that Dr. Alban impermissibly combined a rating for weakness of shoulder motion and loss of grip strength with a rating for range of motion loss in the shoulder. Applicant filed an Answer.            In his report, the AME rated loss of range of motion at 11% whole person impairment (WPI) (page 11). He then stated: “She also exhibits marked weakness of shoulder motion and grip strength. I believe that because her condition is so involved, she should be rated using the weakness factor as well” (page 12). He rated those factors at 18% WPI and combined them with the 11% WPE for loss of range of motion to produce an overall WPI of 27%. He stated: “I believe that this is the most accurate determination of body impairment of the right upper extremity due to the specific injury” (page 12). ,             Labor Code section 4660(b)(1) provides: “For purposes of this section, the ‘nature of the physical injury or disfigurement’ shall incorporate the des

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