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Krysl v. Treasurer of Missouri as Custodian of the Second Injury Fund

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division

October 1, 2019

BRUCE KRYSL, Appellant,
v.
TREASURER OF MISSOURI AS CUSTODIAN OF THE SECOND INJURY FUND, Respondent.

          Appeal from the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission 13-104992.

          OPINION

          Lisa P. Page, Judge.

         Bruce Krysl ("Krysl") appeals the decision of the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission ("the Commission") denying compensation. We reverse and remand.

         BACKGROUND

         In 1994, Krysl was employed as a sculptor for the Veiled Prophets of St. Louis ("VP"), carving large characters for parade floats. Krysl's job required him to perform repetitive strokes while sculpting the characters. In 2012, Krysl was diagnosed with diabetes, requiring treatment for peripheral neuropathy in his upper and lower extremities, among other symptoms resulting from his diabetes. In 2013, he began to experience numbness and tingling in his right hand while sculpting and was ultimately diagnosed with severe right carpal tunnel syndrome. The parties stipulated his primary compensable occupational injury occurred on January 1, 2013. Krysl underwent surgery for carpal tunnel release and was released to full duty in 2015.

         Krysl filed a claim for compensation on July 5, 2016. He settled his primary injury claim against VP in May 2017, leaving the claim against the Second Injury Fund ("the Fund"). Krysl's claim against the Fund was heard by the administrative law judge ("ALJ") in February 2018. The ALJ awarded Krysl permanent partial disability. The Fund filed an application for review. The Commission reversed the ALJ's award, finding that even though the primary occupational injury occurred on January 1, 2013, Section 287.220.3(1) RSMo (2016)[1] applied and precluded his claim for permanent partial disability against the Fund because Krysl filed his claim after January 1, 2014.

         DISCUSSION

         In each of his two points on appeal, Krysl contends the Commission erroneously interpreted Section 287.220 in denying his claim for compensation against the Fund. In both points, Krysl's argument centers upon the fact that the parties stipulated his occupational injury occurred January 1, 2013. Thus, his claim, which was filed after January 1, 2014, did not preclude a claim against the Fund because the date of his injury was determinative.

         Standard of Review

         We review the Commission's decision to determine whether it is "supported by competent and substantial evidence upon the whole record." Cosby v. Treasurer of State as Custodian of Second Injury Fund, 2019 WL 2588575 *2, quoting Article V, section 18 of the Missouri Constitution. In addition, Section 287.495.1 states, in relevant part, that we shall only review questions of law and we may modify, reverse, remand or set aside the award only upon the following grounds:

(1) That the commission acted without or in excess of its powers;
(2) That the award was procured by fraud;
(3) That the facts found by the commission do not support the award;
(4) That there was not sufficient competent evidence in the record to warrant the ...

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