The Third Department, reversing the Workers’ Compensation Board, determined the schedule loss of use (SLU) award for a shoulder injury should not have been offset by a prior award for an elbow injury. Rather, whether the second injury resulted in an increased loss of use should have been considered:
… [T]he Board credited Coniglio’s [the employer’s expert’s] opinion of a 20% SLU as being consistent with the guidelines and expressly declined to add any additional loss of use. …
… [W]e note that the Board has previously determined that adding value for posterior extension to an overall SLU award that also includes a documentation of deficits of flexion or abduction is consistent with the guidelines … . The Board did not address Coniglio’s failure to add any value for his finding of a posterior extension defect to his overall SLU calculation and, as such, has not provided a rational basis for departing from its precedent. Accordingly, its finding of a 20% SLU of the left arm must also be reversed and the matter remitted for further consideration by the Board … . Matter of Kromer v UPS Supply Chain Solutions, 2022 NY Slip Op 04072, Third Dept 6-23-22
Practice Point: Here claimant’s prior schedule loss of use (SLU) award for an elbow injury was not considered in connection with the SLU for the subsequent shoulder injury, a departure from precedent. Because the departure from precedent was not explained, the decision was reversed and remitted.