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10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900, Chicago, IL 60603

211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2, Normal, IL 61761

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Part-Time Keyboarding Insufficient to Prove CTS

November 2018

Erin Green was a part-time customer service representative for Teletech. The job required she answer phone calls and perform computer input. She used a headset for calls and operated a keyboard and mouse regarding the computer function.

Green handled just 13-16 customer service calls per day and the only repetitive use of her hands came with keyboarding. She was not obligated to squeeze, grasp, or use any kind of vibratory equipment. Green began to experience numbness and tingling from the fingertips of her right hand all the way up to the right elbow.

Green treated with a primary care physician and eventually an orthopedic surgeon. She was initially diagnosed with bilateral sided carpal tunnel syndrome, lateral epicondylitis, and tendinitis/bursitis of the wrists. After diagnostic testing, she was diagnosed with right thumb tenosynovitis and de Quervain’s syndrome. The conditions were surgically addressed with right sided carpal tunnel repair.

Green filed a workers’ compensation case against Teletech blaming her injuries, and the resulting need for care on her job duties.

At trial, Brady, Connolly & Masuda introduced evidence that while Green claimed to have experienced no symptoms prior to her job with Teletech, she in truth had already complained of numbness and tingling before and had undergone care involving bilateral wrist braces.

Both parties submitted reports from physicians regarding the issue of causation. Green submitted the report of her treating physician, Dr. Salvatore Fanto, and Teletech adduced one from Dr. John Fernandez, its Section 12 expert.

Arbitrator Steven Fruth decided for Teletech reasoning Green’s job tasks, by their nature, were not sufficient to cause her conditions. He noted Green had been working for Teletech for less than one year, and only on a part-time basis, of four hours per day. The Arbitrator specifically noted that Green’s job, even as she described it, did not require any forceful or repetitive gripping or grasping.

In comparing the medical evidence, the Arbitrator found Teletech’s expert, Dr. Fernandez, more persuasive than Dr. Fanto, the treater. Arbitrator Fruth made note that Dr. Fanto had not referenced the notion of causation in the records he made contemporaneously with his treatment of Green. Instead, he brought the concept up only when requested by Green’s lawyer in preparation for trial.

In sum, the Arbitrator found Green’s limited part-time keyboarding for Respondent was not to blame for her carpal tunnel or tenosynovitis.

  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
  • Chicago Bar Association
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyers Association
  • DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar
  • The Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel
10 South LaSalle Street, Suite 900
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: 312-425-3131
211 Landmark Drive, Suite C2
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-862-4914
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