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Josh Rudolfi Secures TTD and Surgery for Arbitration Client

August 9, 2018

Ankin Law Office attorney, Josh Rudolfi represented a fabricator/welder who injured his hand while tightening a clamp while on the job. The employee, Jason Kleich, was awarded surgery and a portion of Temporary Total Disability by an arbitrator during a case that included a disputed carpal tunnel claim and depositions.

Kleich worked for G.M. Sign, Inc. (respondent) for a period of 23 years. As a fabricator/welder Kleich’s responsibilities included welding signs, pulling materials such as steel and aluminum, cutting metal, and drilling. These pieces of metal were typically pieces of sheet metal approximately 5 feet by 8 feet that he would manually move in order to fabricate a sign. Kleich would utilize tools such as rivet guns, drills, saws, welders, and hand clamps.

(Read the full Arbitrator Decision here)

Kleich worked this job for eight hours per day with overtime, 5 days per week, for 23 years. At approximately 3:00 PM on that date he was using a hand clamp and applying gripping force with his right hand when his right hand curled in and cramped. Kleich is right handed and would use hand clamps “almost all day”. He testified that he had prior issues with both hand being asleep” when he had woken up, but that he was able to perform his full duty job prior to this date. He did not receive medical care on that date.

Kleich testified that the next day he still could not operate his hand and he attempted to make an appointment with Dr. Kelly Holtkamp. A medical note contained in Kleich’s medical records dated August 3, 2016 indicates that Kleich had telephoned the doctors’ office and reported sudden right wrist pain from a July 26, 2016 work injury when tightening a clamp. Kleich saw Dr. Kelly Holtkamp on August 4, 2016. His medical records indicate that he had injured his right hand while tightening a clamp at work on July 26, 2016. Kleich’s hand had “cramped up and experienced pain.” It was noted to be a sudden onset of an electrical shock” and some numbness in the finger tips.

Dr. Holtkamp noted a positive Tinel’s sign at the right wrist, a positive carpal tunnel compression test, and a positive Phalen’s test. Dr. Holtkamp recommended an EMG and placed Kleich off work. An EMG performed on September 3, 2016 at Greenleaf EMG revealed mild right carpal tunnel syndrome. Kleich saw Dr. Holtkamp on September 15, 2016 and Dr. Holtkamp noted pain that waxed and waned between 2 and 7 on a scale of 10.

After reviewing the EMG Dr. Holtkamp recommended an open carpal tunnel release and prescribed Kleich to be off work for 3 days, then to return to work with a restriction of no lifting greater than 5 lbs. Dr. Holtkamp noted in the medical record that, “It is my opinion within a reasonable degree of medical and surgical certainty that the right carpal tunnel syndrome is causally related to work secondary to history of injury.”

Kleich testified that there was never light duty offered to him by G.M. Sign, Inc.. He physically presented for light duty to his supervisor, Garrett, but was not accommodated.

(Read the full Arbitrator Decision here)