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2009-UP-336 - Sharp v. State Ports Authority

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Kenneth Dale Sharp, Employee Appellant,

v.

State Ports Authority, Employer and State Accident Fund, Carrier, Respondents.


Appeal From Charleston County
Deadra L. Jefferson, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2009-uP-336
Heard April 22, 2009 – Filed June 15, 2009


AFFIRMED


D. Dusty Rhoades, of Charleston, and Cynthia B. Patterson, of Columbia, for Appellant.

George T. Miars, Jr., of Mt. Pleasant, and Cynthia B. Polk, of Columbia, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM:  In this workers' compensation action, Kenneth Dale Sharp (Sharp) appeals from an order of the circuit court affirming the full commission's decision to award 50% disability benefits of the right lower extremity.  On appeal, Sharp contends the circuit court erred in affirming the commission's order denying benefits of the hip on the ground Sharp sustained an injury to the hip as well as to the lower extremity or leg.  Sharp further asserts the circuit court erred in affirming the commission's finding that Sharp's Form 16 settlement, which awarded recovery to the leg only, precluded Sharp from seeking recovery for the hip under the doctrine of collateral estoppel. 

While we acknowledge that the hip is separate from the leg, substantial evidence exists to support the commission's award.  Furthermore, due to Sharp's Form 16 settlement, the application of collateral estoppel as a bar to Sharp's additional claim to the hip was not in error as the record indicates Sharp was aware of his hip injury prior to his voluntary decision to enter into the settlement for benefits to the leg only.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 42-17-70 (1985) (noting that an unappealed award or settlement of the commission shall have the same effect as a judgment); Singleton v. Young Lumber Co., 236 S.C. 454, 463, 114 S.E.2d 837, 841 (1960) (stating an agreement for compensation, when approved by the commission, is binding on the parties as an order, decision or award of the commission unappealed from, or an award of the commission affirmed upon appeal).  Accordingly, we affirm the order of the circuit court pursuant to Rule 220(b), SCACR, and the following authorities: Lark v. Bi-Lo, Inc., 276 S.C. 130, 136, 276 S.E.2d 304, 307 (1981) (stating an appellate court must affirm the findings of fact made by the full commission if they are supported by substantial evidence); Tiller v. Nat'l Health Care Ctr., 334 S.C. 333, 338, 513 S.E.2d 843, 845 (1999) ("Substantial evidence is not a mere scintilla of evidence, but evidence which, considering the record as a whole, would allow reasonable minds to reach the conclusion the agency reached."); Jinks v. Richland County, 355 S.C. 341, 349, 585 S.E.2d 281, 285 (2003) ("Collateral estoppel prevents a party from relitigating in a subsequent suit an issue actually and necessarily litigated and determined in a prior action.").

AFFIRMED.

HEARN, C.J., PIEPER, and LOCKEMY, J.J., concur.