Davis Adv. Sh. No. 3
THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Supreme Court
Eddie Arthur Medlin, Petitioner
Upstate Plaster Service
and Travelers Insurance
ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI
TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
Appeal From Spartanburg County
Frank P. McGowan, Jr., Judge
Opinion No. 24743
Heard December 2, 1997 - Filed January 12, 1998
REVERSED AND REMANDED
TOAL, A.J.: In this workers' compensation action, Eddie Medlin has
petitioned for a writ of certiorari, contesting the Court of Appeals' affirmance
of the denial of compensation for an injury that occurred while Medlin was
en route from a work site. We reverse.
In February 1994, Medlin was employed to install stucco sidings on
buildings. His employer Upstate Plaster Service ("Employer") is solely owned
by Keith Garris. Employer maintains an office and warehouse in Enoree,
Medlin testified that before he had started work with Employer, he had
told Garris that he did not have a driver's license. Garris told Medlin that
if he could make it to Employer's office, Employer would provide
transportation from there. Either Medlin's co-worker Frankie Bailey ("Co-
worker") or Garris himself would then drive Medlin to the work sites. Garris
testified that employees were responsible for getting themselves to work;
however, Medlin could not provide his own transportation, so "We had to
furnish him a ride." Garris stated that one of the men would take Medlin
to the job sites.
On March 25, 1994, Medlin was scheduled to work in Rutherfordton,
North Carolina, which was an hour away from Employer's office. On that
day, Co-worker was having trouble with his vehicle, so Garris lent him his
personal truck so that Co-worker and Medlin could travel to Rutherfordton.
While returning from Rutherfordton in the truck, Co-worker and Medlin were
involved in an automobile accident. Medlin, who was riding as the passenger
in the truck, was injured.
In May 1994, Medlin filed for workers' compensation for the injuries he
sustained as a result of the automobile accident. Employer denied that
Medlin had had an accident arising out of and in the course of his
employment. The matter was heard by a single commissioner who concluded
that Medlin did not sustain an injury arising out of and in the course of his
employment with Employer. The full commission unanimously affirmed the
single commissioner's findings of fact and law. This decision was affirmed
by the circuit court. The matter was appealed again and heard by the Court
of Appeals, which, in an unpublished opinion, affirmed the circuit court.
Medlin v. Upstate Plaster Serv., Op. No. 96-UP-293 (S.C. Ct. App. filed Sept.
12, 1996). Medlin has petitioned for a writ of certiorari, contesting the
decision of the Court of Appeals.
The findings of an administrative agency are presumed correct and will
be set aside only if unsupported by substantial evidence. Kearse v. State
Health & Human Servs. Fin. Comm'n, 318 S.C. 198, 456 S.E.2d 892 (1995).
A court may not substitute its judgment for that of an agency as to the
weight of the evidence on questions of fact unless the agency's findings are
clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative and substantial evidence
on the whole record. Grayson v. Carter Rhoad Furniture, 317 S.C. 306, 454
S.E.2d 320 (1995). Substantial evidence is evidence which, considering the
record as a whole, would allow reasonable minds to reach the conclusion that
the administrative agency reached. Gibson v. Florence Country Club, 282
S.C. 384, 318 S.E.2d 365 (1984).
As a general rule, an employee going to or coming from the place where
his work is to be performed is not engaged in performing any service growing
out of and incidental to his employment, and, therefore, an injury sustained
by accident at such time does not arise out of and in the course of his
employment. McDaniel v. Bus Terminal Restaurant Management Corp., 271
S.C. 299, 247 S.E.2d 321 (1978). However, South Carolina has recognized a
number of exceptions to this rule. Among these are:
Sola v. Sunny Slope Farms, 244 S.C. 6, 135 S.E.2d 321 (1964). A fifth
exception allows compensation where an employee sustains an injury while
performing a special task, service, mission, or errand for his employer, even
before or after customary working hours, or on a day on which he does not
ordinarily work. Bickley v. South Carolina Elec. & Gas Co., 259 S.C. 463,
192 S.E.2d 866 (1972).
The first exception to the "going and coming rule" is relevant here:
Where, in going to and returning from work, the means of transportation is
provided by the employer. The Court of Appeals found that there was
substantial evidence to support the findings of the commission that Garris's
decision to supply transportation to Medlin was gratuitous and not out of any
obligation to provide such transportation. We disagree.
The evidence is uncontradicted that Medlin needed transportation to
work sites, and Employer had agreed to provide such transportation. Medlin
testified that before starting work with Employer, he had informed Garris
that he did not have a driver's license. Garris asked if Medlin could get to
the office; Garris could then provide transportation from there. Garris's own
testimony reveals that Employer had agreed to provide transportation. In
response to the question, "But Mr. Medlin did not provide his own
transportation, did he?," Garris responded: "No. We had to furnish him a
ride. One of the men would take him . . . ." This admission by Garris
clearly establishes that the provision of transportation to Medlin was not
simply a gratuitous act by Garris, but was directly related to the work of
Employer. As such, we find that Medlin clearly comes under the first
exception to the "going and coming rule." See Bailey v. Santee River
Hardwood Co., 205 S.C. 433, 32 S.E.2d 365 (1944)(finding it easily inferable
the employees were furnished transportation to work by the company). Thus,
the findings below must be set aside as they are unsupported by substantial
Based on the foregoing, we REVERSE the holding of the Court of
Appeals and REMAND the matter to the Workers' Compensation Commission
for a determination of Medlin's compensation.
FINNEY, C.J., MOORE, WALLER and BURNETT, JJ., concur.