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Schulz v. City of Long Branch

April 17, 2008

MICHAEL SCHULZ, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
CITY OF LONG BRANCH, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT/RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the Division of Workers' Compensation, Claim Petitions Nos. 93-37950, 96-1211 and 05-31944.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 11, 2008

Before Judges Yannotti and LeWinn.

Respondent City of Long Branch appeals from an order entered by the Division of Workers' Compensation on January 30, 2007, which denied the City's motion to consolidate Claim Petitions Nos. 93-37950 and 96-1211 with Claim Petition No. 05-31944, and from an order entered on April 2, 2007, which required the City to provide additional medical treatment for petitioner Michael Schultz under petitions 93-37950 and 96-1211.*fn1 For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Petitioner is an employee of the City's police department. On September 2, 1993, he filed Claim Petition No. 93-37950 pursuant to the Workers' Compensation Act, N.J.S.A. 34:15-1 to -127 (the Act), seeking benefits for an injury that he sustained on June 23, 1993 while apprehending a suspect. On January 3, 1995, a judgment was entered on the claim awarding petitioner compensation for a 22% permanent disability of his right leg consisting of residual orthopedic injuries to the right knee, right knee sprain, internal derangement, surgical arthroscopy, and residual surgical scarring.

Petitioner thereafter re-opened the claim. A judgment approving a settlement of the re-opened claim was entered on June 4, 2000. Petitioner was awarded compensation for a 45% disability of his right leg due to residuals from internal derangement and two arthroscopic surgeries.

On January 11, 1996, petitioner filed Claim Petition No. 96-1211, seeking compensation for injuries to his left leg and back that he sustained on November 1, 1995 in a work-related automobile accident. A judgment was entered on February 15, 2000 approving a settlement of this claim. Petitioner was awarded 45% of partial total for the residuals from a disc herniation at C5 to C6, right shoulder impingement with arthroscopic decompression, left arm internal derangement, and aggravation of pain of the prior back injury, with a credit of 22.5% for the previous injuries.

In August 2000, petitioner filed an application for review or modification of the award on Claim Petition No. 96-1211. Petitioner alleged that he was in need of further treatment for the injuries sustained in the November 1, 1995 accident. On August 23, 2000, May 11, 2001, September 20, 2002, and December 2, 2004, petitioner filed motions for temporary disability benefits and additional medical treatment under Claim Petition No. 96-1211.

In addition, on May 3, 2001, petitioner filed an application for review and modification of the award on Claim Petition No. 93-37950. Petitioner alleged that he was suffering from increased pain and disability as a result of the injuries sustained in the 1993 accident. On June 5, 2001 and September 20, 2002, petitioner filed motions for temporary disability benefits and additional medical treatment under this petition. Petitioner sought additional treatment for his neck, right knee, and back.

On September 27, 2005, petitioner filed Claim Petition No. 05-31944, seeking benefits for injuries to his left leg and lungs that he sustained while making an arrest. The trial on the motions under Claim Petitions Nos. 96-1211 and 93-37950 began on July 12, 2005, and continued on February 7, 2006, May 23, 2006, and July 25, 2006. On August 21, 2006, the City moved to consolidate petitions 93-37950 and 96-1211 with petition 05-31944.

While the City's motion was pending, the parties in petition 05-31944 settled the claim, and an order approving settlement was entered on December 8, 2006, awarding petitioner 27-1/2% of partial total for residuals of a "saddle pulmonary thrombosis." On January 30, 2007, the compensation judge placed a decision on the record in which he concluded that the City's motion for consolidation should be denied. The judge entered an order on that day that memorialized his decision.

On April 2, 2007, the compensation judge rendered a decision on petitioner's motions under petitions 93-37950 and 96-1211. The judge found that petitioner required additional medical treatment for the compensable injuries that occurred in 1993 and 1995. The judge entered an order of judgment on April 2, 2007, requiring the City for pay for the medical treatment ...


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