David M. Jurgens, appellant,
JBS Swift & Co., appellee.
DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION
from the Workers' Compensation Court, Thomas E. Stine,
J. Thayer, of Thayer & Thayer, P.C., L.L.O., for
D. Jones and Michael D. Sands, of Baylor, Evnen, Curtiss,
Grimit & Witt, L.L.P., for appellee.
Chief Judge, and Irwin and Pirtle, Judges.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL (MEMORANDUM
M. Jurgens appeals from an order of the Nebraska Workers'
Compensation Court finding that he failed to meet his burden
of proof to establish that he sustained bilateral carpal
tunnel injuries in an accident arising out of and the in the
course of his employment with JBS Swift & Co. (JBS
Swift), and dismissing his petition. Based on the reasons
that follow, we affirm.
17, 2014, Jurgens filed a petition in the Nebraska
Workers' Compensation Court against JBS Swift alleging
that on May 22, 2013, he sustained a right shoulder injury,
and that on November 27, 2013, he sustained bilateral carpal
tunnel injuries to his hands. The petition alleged both
injuries were caused by accidents arising out of and in the
course of his employment with JBS Swift for which he was
entitled to compensation.
on Jurgens' petition was held on October 22, 2015. At the
beginning of trial, the parties stipulated that Jurgens had
suffered an injury to his right shoulder for which all
compensation had been paid and that the right shoulder claim
was withdrawn. Accordingly, Jurgens' right shoulder
injury is not at issue in this appeal.
evidence at trial showed that Jurgens started working for JBS
Swift in 2009. After three months of cleaning floors, Jurgens
transferred to the job of cooler operator. Jurgens testified
that his job involves checking the grade of halved cattle
carcasses that are hanging on hooks and attached to an
overhead moving rail. He manually operates the conveyor rail
by pushing buttons to keep it moving and ensuring the
carcasses do not pile up. If a carcass is not the right
grade, he has to stop the rail and turn a switch for a
"kickout rail" to remove the carcass. He then turns
the switch back over and starts the rail again. He testified
that sometimes he has to push or pull the carcasses to keep
the rail moving. Jurgens testified that he deals with about
5, 000 halved carcasses per day, each weighing between 900
and 1, 000 pounds. He testified that he spends about 60
percent of his day pushing and pulling cattle to keep them
moving along the line, and spends 30 percent of his day
turning the carcasses to determine their grade. Jurgens
testified that he spends 10 to 15 percent of his day
operating the buttons that run the moving rail. When he uses
the buttons, he grasps them in either his left or right hand
and twists them from left to right. He also testified that
sometimes he has to press the buttons for three to five
minutes at a time.
October 11, 2013, Jurgens reported to JBS Swift that he
incurred an injury while working, specifically an injury to
his wrist and thumb and that he had popping and cracking
and/or numbness in his fingers. He listed the date of injury
as June 11, 2013.
December 11, 2013, Jurgens sought treatment at JBS
Swift's in-house infirmary for a bilateral injury to his
hands, specifically pain in his thumb and first two fingers
on the right and left hand. Jurgens claimed that the onset of
the same was ...