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2004-UP-510 - Hall v. US Food Services
THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Mervin Wilber Hall,        Appellant,

v.

US Food Services, Employer, and Mac Risk Management,        Respondents.


Appeal From York County
Paul E. Short, Jr., Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2004-UP-510
Submitted October 1, 2004 – Filed October 13, 2004


AFFIRMED


Stephen Benjamin Samuels, of Lexington, for Appellant.

Ellen H. Goodwin, of Columbia, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM: Mervin Wilber Hall appeals a circuit court order that affirms the denial of workers’ compensation benefits by his employer US Food Services.  We affirm. [1]

Hall contends he suffered a back injury while on the job.  Food Services disputes that.  The single commissioner denied Hall’s claim, pointing to his lack of credibility, his failure to carry the burden of proof, and the believability of Food Services’ witnesses.  An appellate panel affirmed the single commissioner.  The circuit court, in turn, affirmed the appellate panel.

Hall claims he injured his back when he adjusted his seat while driving a company truck.  An investigation conducted by Food Services, however, showed the seat could not be moved either forward or backward because of a broken handle used to adjust the seat. 

At the hearing before the single commissioner, Hall acknowledged he had sustained a prior back injury when he adjusted a seat on a company bus while employed elsewhere.  Hall admitted to having suffered other prior back injuries as well, but only after Food Services confronted him at the hearing before the single commissioner with medical records.  Hall failed to report these injuries to the doctors who treated him for the alleged injury that led to the present claim because he “didn’t think [the information] was relevant.”

I.

Hall first argues the circuit court erred in affirming the order of the workers’ compensation commission because the commission failed to make specific and detailed findings of fact.

Findings of fact in a final decision of an administrative body, such as the workers’ compensation commission, must contain “a concise and explicit statement of the underlying facts supporting the findings.”  S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-350 (2002).  The commission satisfied this requirement here.   See Sharpe v. Case Produce, Inc., 336 S.C. 154, 159-160, 519 S.E.2d 102, 105 (1999) (holding the findings of the workers’ compensation commission that a claimant did not suffer a work-related injury were sufficient where the commission based its decision on the lack of credibility of the claimant and on the credibility of the employer’s witnesses)

The commission found as a fact that Hall did not sustain any injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment.   The “concise and explicit statement” of the underlying facts that support this finding are the following: (1) Hall “was not credible due to inconsistencies, vague answers, and misstatements,” and failed “to disclose material information until confronted with documentation”; (2) Hall gave “inconsistent answers in regards to prior injuries,” concealed the existence “of prior injuries until confronted with . . . medical documentation” reflecting those injuries; and (3) the commission viewed the employer’s witnesses as being “credible” when they testified Hall said he was going to sue the company “if he did not get a new seat in his truck.”

II.

Hall next questions the commission’s finding that Hall “failed to prove his case.”  He says there is “one reason” for this finding: the commission found Hall “was not a credible witness.”  This statement is not quite correct.  The commission also found the employer’s witnesses were credible. As we noted above, these findings are sufficient to support the commission’s decision.  Sharpe, 336 S.C. at 159-160, 519 S.E.2d at 105.  Determinations regarding the credibility of witnesses in a workers’ compensation case are singularly for the commission.  Shealy v. Aiken County, 341 S.C. 448, 455, 535 S.E.2d 438, 442 (2000).

AFFIRMED.

GOOLSY, ANDERSON, and WILLIAMS, JJ. concur.


[1] This case is decided without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.