Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Fourth Division
from the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission
Mark D. Pfeiffer, Chief Judge Presiding, Thomas H. Newton,
and Lisa White Hardwick, JJ.
H. Newton, Judge.
Richard Gattenby is a career plumber who suffered multiple
work and non-work related injuries. He has injured his left
ankle, both shoulders, and right knee in accidents related to
his employment. On appeal, the Second Injury Fund (SIF)
questions the validity of the permanent total disability
award, asserting that injuries, outside the statute's
limitations were considered to determine his disability and
that substantial evidence does not exist to uphold the
permanent total disability classification. We disagree and
Gattenby, a career plumber, suffered a right knee injury in
March 2014. This injury was the latest of five prior work and
non-work related injuries. In 1977, the first injury resulted
in the fusion of the toes on his left foot and the fusion of
his left ankle. Mr. Gattenby's gait changed as a
consequence of this injury forcing him to walk with a
"real bad limp." He was unable to walk naturally,
bend his ankle, flex his foot, navigate stairs, rise on his
toes, walk backward, or walk easily on uneven ground. Though
he did not miss work, he was in constant pain and struggled
daily. From this injury, his disability was rated at 60
percent of the 155 week-level or 93 weeks of permanent
Gattenby also suffered two additional work related injuries
in 2007 and 2009 resulting in a 17.5 percent disability to
each shoulder. In 2010, Mr. Gattenby suffered a non-work
related injury requiring several surgeries. He returned to
work in 2012 and worked until the March 2014 injury giving
rise to the current claim.
result of the March 2014 injury, Mr. Gattenby suffers from
continued knee pain, limited mobility, and the inability to
squat. He can no longer kneel on either knee and has a
diminished ability to navigate stairs. He was unable to
return to his regular job after this injury and settled his
primary claim for this injury with his employer for 15
percent disability of the knee, or 24 weeks of benefits.
April 2015, the parties appeared for a final hearing before
an administrative law judge who determined that SIF is liable
to Mr. Gattenby for permanent total disability benefits. At
the hearing, Mr. Gattenby testified about his injuries as
indicated above. In addition, both orthopedic surgeon Dr.
Stuckmeyer and vocational expert Terry Cordray found Mr.
Gattenby permanently and totally disabled as a result of the
limitations from the primary injury combined with his
preexisting limitations. The case was submitted to the Labor
and Industrial Relations Commission (Commission) for review
under section 287.480. In August 2016, it upheld the
administrative law judge's award, concluding that the SIF
is liable for permanent total disability benefits.
287.495.1 states that:
The court, on appeal, shall review only questions of law and
may modify, reverse, remand for rehearing, or set aside the
award upon any of the following grounds and no other:
(1) That the commission acted without or in excess of its