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Michie v. Anderson Builders, Inc.

Court of Appleals of Nebraska

February 3, 2015

BERNARD MICHIE AND DIANNA LEE ESTES, APPELLANTS,
v.
ANDERSON BUILDERS, INC., APPELLEE

Page 907

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 908

Appeal from the Workers' Compensation Court: MICHAEL K. HIGH, Judge.

Affirmed.

Michael W. Meister for appellants.

Ryan C. Holsten, of Atwood, Holsten, Brown, Deaver & Spier Law Firm, P.C., L.L.O., for appellee.

MOORE, Chief Judge, and RIEDMDMANN and BISHOP, Judges.

OPINION

Page 909

[22 Neb.App. 732] Riedmdmann, Judge.

INTRODUCTION

Dianna Lee Estes appeals the decision of the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Court, which found that although her husband, Bernard Michie, sustained a workplace injury, his subsequent death was not causally related to his injury. The court awarded indemnity payments, along with medical and hospital expenses incurred to the time of his death, but denied spousal benefits under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act. For the reasons set forth below, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

Michie sustained an injury to his lower back in April 2010 while pouring and leveling wet concrete in the course and scope of his employment with Anderson Builders, Inc. Michie underwent various treatments for the pain associated with his injury from April 2010 until he died unexpectedly in April 2012. At the time of his death, Michie was taking two prescription medications related to his workplace injury: oxycodone for pain and cyclobenzaprine as a muscle relaxant. Prior to his death, Michie initiated this action, seeking indemnity and medical benefits under the Nebraska Workers' Compensation Act. Following his death, Michie's widow, Estes, filed an amended petition, seeking spousal benefits as well as funeral and burial expenses. She alleged that Michie died as a result of an accidental overdose of the medications he was prescribed for his workplace injury and that she was therefore entitled to death benefits.

A trial was held in the compensation court. Estes offered various exhibits, including Michie's post mortem toxicology

Page 910

test results, an autopsy report, and the verdict of the coroner from Laramie County, Wyoming, which is the location where Michie died. The toxicology test results showed the presence of both prescription drugs in Michie's blood at the time of his death. The concentration of oxycodone was 27 nanograms per ...


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