Ala. nursing assistant who alleged she contracted scabies on the job will get another try for Workers' Comp

By Elizabeth Alt | Aug 7, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Legal Newsline) – On July 21, the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed a trial court’s decision in favor of a health center after a certified nursing assistant sued for Workers' Compensation, alleging she contracted scabies from an outbreak in the facility.

The court ruled for Felisha Bailey, who was a nursing assistant for Jacksonville Health and Rehabilitation Center. In 2013, Bailey filed suit against her former employer alleging that she had contracted scabies from an outbreak at her job in June 2012. 

She said that she had seen multiple doctors starting in June 2012 and was diagnosed at least once with scabies, and several times with severe anxiety. Bailey sought benefits under Workers' Compensation, also alleging resulting psychological injuries. 

She was diagnosed by doctors as having severe anxiety and possibly suffering from delusional parasitosis from the alleged scabies infection, the ruling states.

The trial court ruled in favor of Jacksonville, citing that because one of the doctors who saw Bailey in October 2012 claimed she did not have scabies, the employee did not produce sufficient medical evidence. 

Dr. Janet Cash, the dermatologist who saw Bailey in October, questioned the other diagnoses because there was not adequate testing for scabies and recommended Bailey seek psychiatric treatment. 

Cash also said that although Bailey did not have scabies at the October 2012 appointment, it was feasible she did have it, and that it was possible that parasitosis arose from that incident.

Bailey appealed, saying that the trial court’s decision was incorrect because it made credibility determinations.

Alabama Court of Civic Appeals Presiding Judge William C. Thompson agreed, stating that a trial court is to decide whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, whether the employee’s alleged contraction of scabies caused her to develop delusional parasitosis or another psychological disorder. 

In Bailey’s case, there were conflicting reports from the doctors, but the trial court erred in deciding that one doctor’s opinion was the only credible source.

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