State Appeals Court Decides In Favor Of Former Stemilt Worker
An orchard worker, severely injured while working for Stemilt Growers in 2016, is now entitled to proper and necessary treatment and time-loss compensation.
The state Court of Appeals has upheld Rafael Barreto Garcia's industrial insurance claim, denying Stemilt's appeal to have it closed.
Barreto Garcia was in a coma for eight days after falling from a tree while picking apples for Stemilt, and then having a heart attack on the way to the hospital.
His insurance claim was closed two years later in 2018 by the state Department of Labor and Industries, which said treatment was no longer necessary and he had no permanent partial disability.
Barreto Garcia then made an administrative appeal, where his doctor noted he had serious ongoing issues with his heart.
The appeals judge concluded he was entitled to additional time-loss benefits, but that his heart condition was at maximum medical improvement and the Department should deny further treatment and close his claim.
Barreto Garcia then asked the state Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals to review the case.
But the Board adopted the appeals judge’s findings, noting that the judge correctly concluded that Barreto Garcia’s cardiac condition reached maximum medical improvement because the recommended medications will not result in a more complete recovery.
Barreto Garcia further appealed to the Benton County Superior Court, which sided with him saying if Barreto Garcia discontinued his treatment he would develop difficulty breathing and possibly after that he would develop pulmonary edema requiring hospital admission.
The Superior Court ordered that he receive proper and necessary treatment and that he receive time-loss compensation.
Stemilt then appealed, and the state Appeals Court Tuesday released its decision Tuesday, affirming the Superior Courts finding. The Appeals Court also award Barreto Garcia of attorney fees.