Court of Appeals of Texas, Ninth District, Beaumont
Submitted on June 20, 2017
Appeal from the 60th District Court Jefferson County, Texas
Trial Cause No. B-197, 001
McKeithen, C.J., Kreger and Johnson, JJ.
Atkins-January (January or Appellant) filed this appeal
complaining of an order granting summary judgment in favor of
the Texas State Office of Risk Management (SORM or Appellee)
and dismissing all of Appellant's workers'
compensation claims with prejudice. We affirm.
is a former employee of the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice (TDCJ). SORM serves as the workers' compensation
insurance carrier for TDCJ. On November 17, 2012, while
employed by TDCJ, January sustained a work-related injury
when she tripped and fell. After pursuing a workers'
compensation claim, a hearing officer of the Texas Department
of Insurance-Division of Workers' Compensation ("the
Division") concluded as follows:
The credible evidence established that the compensable injury
includes a right elbow contusion, a left elbow contusion, a
left hip injury, and a right ankle sprain/strain. The
credible evidence did not establish that the compensable
injury includes left knee internal derangement and an HNP at
December 16, 2014, the hearing officer signed a decision and
order that contained findings of fact and conclusions of law.
The decision explained that
[t]he claimant did not present a doctor's testimony or
written statement which explains how the on-the-job
accident/mechanism of injury caused or aggravated these two
conditions. As a result, she failed to prove that the
compensable injury includes left knee internal derangement or
an HNP at L4-L5.
Appeals Panel of the Division subsequently affirmed the
hearing officer's decision and order, making the hearing
officer's decision the "final decision"
effective March 9, 2015.
then filed the instant lawsuit in April of 2015, seeking
judicial review of the Division's final decision with
respect to the extent of her injuries caused by the
on-the-job accident in 2012. SORM filed an answer and
propounded written discovery seeking, in relevant part,
information related to the causation of January's claimed
filed a no-evidence motion for summary judgment in August of
2016, after the applicable discovery period had expired.
Therein, SORM argued that
. . . no evidence has been produced or disclosed and none
exists which could support the conclusion, within a
reasonable degree of medical probability, that the conditions
claimed by the Plaintiff of left knee internal derangement
and HNP at L4-L5 would not have resulted or have been
aggravated but for her work-related injury of November 17,
201. As such, given the absolute lack of evidence in
support of causation of the claimed medical conditions in
this case, an essential element to the ...