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Kiessling v. Prudential Insurance Co.

May 10, 2010

LISA MARIE KIESSLING, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
PRUDENTIAL INSURANCE COMPANY, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



On appeal from New Jersey Department of Labor, Division of Workers' Compensation, Docket No. 1993-32163.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued April 28, 2010

Before Judges Sapp-Peterson and Espinosa.

Lisa Kiessling was employed by Prudential Insurance Company (Prudential) from 1989 to 1993, when she applied for disability benefits based upon her complaints of pain and lack of feeling in her hands. She was awarded permanent total disability benefits in 2003, an award that Prudential did not challenge. In 2007, Prudential filed a motion to modify the order for total disability, set it aside and enter an order updated to reflect Kiessling's physical capabilities at that time. Prudential appeals from a final decision of the workers' compensation court denying that motion. We affirm.

The evidence presented at trial is set forth in detail in the extensive written decision of the Honorable Stephen Tuber, J.W.C., and need not be repeated here. We note only the following salient facts.

To support its motion that the award should be modified, Prudential presented the testimony of two physicians who had examined Kiessling, a psychiatrist, Dr. David Gallina, and a neurologist, Dr. Charles Effron, as well as two neighbors of Kiessling, Ruth Beam and Catherine Reilly, who have an acrimonious relationship with her. Kiessling testified and presented the testimony of Dr. Peter M. Crain, a psychiatrist and neurologist.

Kiessling testified that her condition has gotten worse in the years since the compensation court found her totally disabled because she is physically weaker and has less endurance. She has had a total of six operations to correct her condition. The prescribed medications she takes on a daily basis include:

o Buspar, an anti-anxiety medication, three times a day

o Nortiptyline, and anti-pain and antidepressant medication, three times a day

o Oxycontin, a pain medication, four times a day

o Topomax, a seizure medication used for pain relief, twice a day

o Methodone, a pain medication, four times a day

o Wellbutrin, an antidepressant, two to ...


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