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2010-UP-259 - Jackson v. Johnson Controls

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

Melvin Jackson, Respondent,

v.

Johnson Controls and Indemnity Ins. Co. of N.A., Appellants.


Appeal From Anderson County
Alexander S. Macaulay, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-259
Submitted April 1, 2010 – Filed April 26, 2010   


AFFIRMED


Duke K. McCall, Jr., of Greenville, for Appellants.

Ernest C. Trammell, of Anderson, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM:  Johnson Controls and Indemnity Insurance Company (collectively the Carrier) appeal the circuit court's affirmance of the Appellate Panel of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission's (Appellate Panel) order finding Melvin Jackson suffered from a compensable injury resulting from a work-related injury to his back.  On appeal, the Carrier argues: (1) the single commissioner's finding of compensability for Jackson was not supported by substantial evidence in the record, and (2) the single commissioner erred in finding Jackson properly notified his employer of the accident.  We affirm.[1] 

1.  Substantial evidence supports the single commissioner's conclusion that he suffered from a compensable back injury arising out of his employment with Johnson Controls.  While conflicting testimony exists regarding the origins of Jackson's injury, Jackson testified he twisted his back and felt a sharp pain which radiated down both legs when he got off his forklift while working at Johnson Controls.  Jackson's testimony was further corroborated by two witnesses.  Moreover, both the single commissioner and the Appellate Panel found Jackson was a credible witness.  See Hill v. Eagle Motor Lines, 373 S.C. 422, 436, 645 S.E.2d 424, 431 (2007) (holding the decisions of the Appellate Panel must be affirmed if the factual findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record); Hall v. Desert Aire, Inc., 376 S.C. 338, 348, 656 S.E.2d 753, 758 (Ct. App. 2007) ("The final determination of witness credibility and the weight assigned to the evidence is reserved to the Appellate Panel."); Id. at 350, 656 S.E.2d at 759 ("The general policy in South Carolina is to construe the Workers' Compensation Act in favor of coverage, and any reasonable doubts as to construction should be resolved in favor of the claimant.").

2.  Regarding the Carrier's argument that the single commissioner erred in finding Jackson properly notified his employer of the accident, substantial evidence supports the single commissioner's finding of proper notice.  Jackson testified he called a human resources employee the day after his accident and informed her he suffered a back injury working the night before and also submitted a medical leave form to her indicating he suffered a back injury as the result of an accident.  Although two employees from the human resources department testified Jackson never reported an on-the-job injury while working at Johnson Controls, the Appellate Panel, as the ultimate finder of fact, found Jackson a credible witness and assigned weight to his testimony and the medical leave form submitted by Jackson.  See id. at 348, 656 S.E.2d at 758 ("The final determination of witness credibility and the weight assigned to the evidence is reserved to the Appellate Panel."); Id. ("Where there are conflicts in the evidence over a factual issue, the findings of the Appellate Panel are conclusive."); Hill, 373 S.C. at 436, 645 S.E.2d at 431 (holding the decisions of the Appellate Panel must be affirmed if the factual findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record).    

AFFIRMED.

HUFF, THOMAS, and KONDUROS, JJ., concur.


[1]  We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.