Steve Tordini vs. James Diedrich; Preferred Employers Ins. Co.

James Diedrich; Preferred Employers Ins. Co. Steve Tordini WORKERS’ COMPENSATION APPEALS BOARDSTATE OF CALIFORNIASTEVE TORDINI, Applicant,vs.JAMES DIEDRICH; PREFERRED EMPLOYERS INS. CO., Defendant(s).Case No. ADJ7207861OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING RECONSIDERATION AND DECISION AFTER RECONSIDERATION            Defendant seeks reconsideration of the Findings and Award of February 22, 2011, in which the workers’ compensation judge (WCJ), found, in relevant part, that on November 4, 2008, applicant sustained industrial injury to his low back, causing permanent disability of 31% after apportionment.            Defendant contends, in substance, that the WCJ erred in not following the medical opinion of Dr. Hellner, the Panel Qualified Medical Evaluator (PQME), on the issues of Whole Personal Impairment (WPI) and apportionment under Labor Code sections 4663 and 4664, that the WCJ erred in following the medical opinion of Dr. Lewis, the primary treating physician, and that Dr. Lewis’s medical opinion is not substantial evidence because it is based on misconceptions about the Disability Evaluation Unit (DEU), apportionment under section 4663, and Almaraz v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2009) 74 Cal.Comp.Cases 1084 [Appeals Board en banc] (“Almaraz II’).            It appears that applicant did not file an answer.            This matter involves an admitted industrial injury to applicant’s low back on November 4, 2008, which caused a disc protrusion at L4-5. Applicant also had a serious non-industrial injury to his mid and low back in 1984, which resulted in surgical intervention in the form of fusion and , implantation of rods and hooks at the T-9 to L-2 levels of the spine. Dr. Lewis was applicant’s treating physician, while Dr. Hellner served as the PQME.            In his report dated October 26, 2009, Dr. Hellner reported that applicant has a Diagnostic- Related Estimate (DRE) Lumbar Category IV, 23% WPI, and that in the absence of the prior injury and surgery of 1984, a

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