IN RE: the Claim of Aida CIPRIAN

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York.

IN RE: the Claim of Aida CIPRIAN, Respondent, v. BARBIZON HOTEL, et al., Appellants. Workers' Compensation Board, Respondent.

Decided: May 29, 2003

Before:  CARDONA, P.J., MERCURE, PETERS, CARPINELLO and LAHTINEN, JJ. Vecchione, Vecchione & Connors, Williston Park (Michael F. Vecchione of counsel), for appellants. Eliot Spitzer, Attorney General, New York City (Iris A. Steel of counsel), for Workers' Compensation Board, respondent.

Appeal from a decision of the Workers' Compensation Board, filed September 12, 2001, which found that claimant has a marked permanent partial disability.

Claimant, a hotel housekeeper, sustained a work-related back injury on May 4, 1996 when a stack of towels and a towel rack fell on her.   At issue on appeal is the determination of the Workers' Compensation Board that claimant has a marked permanent partial disability causally related to this injury.   The employer and its workers' compensation carrier argue that the Board's decision is not supported by substantial evidence inasmuch as it rests on the allegedly speculative opinions of claimant's medical experts, and further that the Board substituted its judgment for that of the medical experts when it concluded, in the absence of medical testimony, that claimant is permanently disabled.   We disagree.

 The Board based its determination on the testimony of claimant's treating orthopedist and chiropractor who opined that claimant has a marked partial disability, as well as the reports of claimant's neurologist indicating that claimant's disability is permanent.   Although the carrier's medical expert opined that claimant is no longer disabled as a result of the 1996 injury, the Board is empowered to resolve conflicts in the medical testimony, and its resolution must be accorded deference (see Matter of Kramer v. Ultra Blend Corp., 297 A.D.2d 890, 747 N.Y.S.2d 403 [2002], lv. denied 99 N.Y.2d 506, 755 N.Y.S.2d 712, 785 N.E.2d 734 [2003];  Matter of Estate of Matusko v. Kennedy Valve Mfg. Co., 296 A.D.2d 726, 728, 296 A.D.2d 726 [2002], lv. denied 99 N.Y.2d 504, 754 N.Y.S.2d 203, 784 N.E.2d 76 [2002] ).   Accordingly, substantial evidence supports the Board's determination that claimant has a marked permanent partial disability.

ORDERED that the decision is affirmed, without costs.

CARPINELLO, J.

CARDONA, P.J., MERCURE, PETERS and LAHTINEN, JJ., concur.

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