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25165 - Adams v. Texfi Industries
Adams et al., v. Texfi Industries et al.,


Shearouse Adv. Sh. No.
S.E. 2d


THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

In The Supreme Court



William Jackson

Adams, Deceased

Employee; Rosita L.

Adams, Widow; Ji Hae

Kim Adams, Minor

Adopted Child; Martina

Marie McKeown, Claimants,



of whom Martina Marie

McKeown is Petitioner,



and Ji Hae Kim Adams

is Respondent,



v.



Texfi Industries,

Employer and Liberty

Mutual Insurance

Company, Carrier, Defendants.





ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE

COURT OF APPEALS



Appeal From Chester County

Paul E. Short, Jr., Circuit Court Judge



Opinion No. 25165

Heard November 2, 1999 - Filed July 3, 2000



REVERSED



p.375


ADAMS, et al. v. TEXFI INDUSTRIES





Claude S. Coleman, of Hemphill, Hemphill &

Coleman, of Chester, for petitioner.



J. Mark Hayes, II of Harrison and Hayes, of

Spartanburg, for respondent.







PER CURIAM: This case is before the Court on a writ of

certiorari to review the Court of Appeals' decision in Adams v. Texfi

Industries, 330 S.C. 305, 498 S.E.2d 885 (Ct. App. 1998) (Adams III). We

reverse, and reinstate the decision of the full commission finding petitioner

was wholly dependent upon the deceased and therefore entitled to receive

worker's compensation benefits.









This is the fourth time this matter has been before an appellate

court. In Adams v. Texfi Industries, 314 S.C. 313, 443 S.E.2d 913 (Ct. App.

1994)(Adams I), the Court of Appeals held the petitioner, as the deceased's

stepchild, was not entitled to the presumption that she was wholly

dependent under S.C. Code Ann. § 42-9-110 (1985). We granted certiorari,

and held that if a stepchild demonstrates "dependence" within the meaning

of S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-70 (1985), he will be deemed "wholly dependent"

under § 42-9-110. We explained that dependence under § 42-1-70 is

something less than "wholly dependent" and adopted the test found in Day v.

Day, 216 S.C. 334, 58 S.E.2d 83 (1957). Adams v. Texfi Industries, 320 S.C.

213, 464 S.E.2d 109 (1995) (Adams II). We remanded the case to the full

commission for reconsideration in light of this standard. Id.







On remand, the full commission determined petitioner was

dependent within the meaning of Day and § 42-1-70,. and therefore entitled

to the presumption found in § 42-9-110. Accordingly, the full commission

awarded petitioner benefits. The circuit court affirmed, but the Court of

Appeals reversed. Adams III, supra. We granted certiorari.







ISSUE



Did the Court of Appeals err in holding that the Commission

erred as, a matter of law in applying the standard for the reliance of a



p.376


ADAMS, et al. v. TEXFI INDUSTRIES





stepchild upon a worker for support?







DISCUSSION



The Court of Appeals in Adams III relied upon language from the

South Carolina's Children's Code, which states that the person responsible

for the child's welfare harms the child by failure to provide adequate food,

clothing, shelter, education, and health care, to determine if petitioner was

dependent upon the deceased. The application of the Children's Code

standard was error, and we take this opportunity to reiterate that the

dependency standard to be used in a workers' compensation case is that

announced in Adams v. Texfi Industries II.







Courts will not overturn the factual findings of the commission

unless they are clearly erroneous in view of the reliable, probative, and

substantial evidence on the whole record. Brown v. Ryder Truck Rental, 300

S.C. 530, 389 S.E.2d 161 (Ct. App. 1990). " 'Substantial evidence' is not a

mere scintilla of evidence nor the evidence viewed blindly from one side of

the case, but is evidence which, considering the record as a whole, would

allow reasonable minds to reach the conclusion that the administrative

agency reached or must have reached in order to justify its action." Lark v.

Bi-Lo, Inc., 276 S.C. 130, 276 S.E.2d 304 (1981). The substantial evidence

test "need not and must not be either judicial fact-finding or a substitution of

judicial judgment for agency judgment." Id. at 307.







The commission, applying the standard announced in Adams II,

determined that petitioner relied on the deceased for the reasonable

necessities of life and was sufficiently dependent. Its decision was based on

the following factual findings supported by the record: the deceased

employee provided medical insurance coverage, braces, household utilities,

groceries, car expenses, clothing, summer camp, and made payments on the

indebtedness on the family home. Evidence in the record also indicates that

on their joint tax return, the deceased employee and his wife claimed

petitioner as a dependent.







There was evidence in the record to support the commission's

findings. Lark v. Bi-Lo, Inc., supra. The Court of Appeals erred in reversing

the commission's findings.





p.377


ADAMS, et al. v. TEXFI INDUSTRIES





The decision of the Court of Appeals is therefore



REVERSED.



p.378