PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The South Dakota Supreme Court has sided with a Rapid City woman who sought worker’s compensation after she was injured while on the job.
The court on Thursday publicly released the decision in favor of Destiny Schoon. The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation had found for Schoon, as did Circuit Judge Christina Klinger.
Her employer, News America Marketing and its insurer, Farmington Casualty Company, appealed those lower decisions to the Supreme Court.
The court found unanimously for Schoon. Chief Justice Steven Jensen wrote the opinion.
Schoon had been injured three times between 2001 and 2004, twice in traffic accidents and once when she slipped on ice and fell. She hurt herself again on May 7, 2015, using a screwdriver while installing a sign in a retail store. Her employer and its insurer denied to pay for surgery.
Chief Justice Jensen however said Schoon had shown that the injury to her right shoulder and neck was a major contributing cause of her current condition and the need for surgery and other treatment.
The state’s high court also disagreed with the employer’s and insurer’s contentions that a rehabilitation doctor’s testimony on Schoon’s behalf lacked foundation and that Circuit Judge Klinger erred when she found Schoon’s medical experts more persuasive than the employer’s medical expert.
“The Department and the circuit court expressly acknowledged the possibility that a non-treating expert could be more persuasive than a treating expert. Nevertheless, both found the treating experts more persuasive in this case, particularly in light of the Department’s findings that Claimant was active and did not have any significant neck and shoulder injuries for six years before her 2015 work injury. Further, Employer/Insurer does not advance a legal argument
supporting its contention of error,” Chief Justice Jensen wrote.