Caterpillar Logistics, Inc. v. Soli, No. 13-1106 (7th Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
A Caterpillar worker developed epicondylitis, an inflammation of tendons near the elbow. A Department of Labor regulation requires employers to report injuries if “the work environment either caused or contributed to the resulting condition.” The employee worked in a packing department, placing items in boxes for shipping. Caterpillar convened a panel, with three board‐certified specialists in musculoskeletal disorders. Relying on guides issued by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the American Medical Association that repetitive motion plus force (weight or impact) can cause epicondylitis, and that pronation plus force also can cause the condition, but that repetitive motion alone does not, the panel found that work could not have caused the employee’s epicondylitis. Although Caterpillar presented several witnesses, the ALJ accepted the view of the DOL’s single witness, which ignored epidemiological studies and Caterpillar’s experience. The Seventh Circuit remanded. On remand, the ALJ again held that Caterpillar must pay a penalty for failing to report an injury as work‐related and OSHA declined to review the decision. Caterpillar has filed another petition for judicial review. The Seventh Circuit vacated. Prevailing views, and the data behind them, must be considered; they cannot be ignored on the opinion of any witness.