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2011-UP-162 - Bolds v. UTI Integrated

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

Francis J. Bolds, Jr., Appellant,

v.

UTI Integrated Logistics, Inc., and American Home Assurance Company, Defendants,

Of Whom UTI Integrated Logistics, Inc., is the, Respondent.


Appeal From the Appellate Panel


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-162 
Submitted April 1, 2011 – Filed April 13, 2011
Withdrawn, Substituted and Refiled June 2, 2011


AFFIRMED


John S. Nichols and Blake A. Hewitt, both of Columbia; and Kenneth W. Harrell, of North Charleston, for Appellant.

Stephen L. Brown, Catherine H. Chase, and E. Courtney Gruber, all of Charleston, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Francis J. Bolds, Jr. appeals the single scheduled benefits award for a twenty percent permanent partial disability to his back by the Appellate Panel of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (the Appellate Panel).  On appeal, Bolds argues the Appellate Panel erred in denying him a general disability award because his back injury affected other parts of his body.  We affirm.[1]  

Three types of disability exist under the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Act (the Act): total disability, partial disability, and scheduled disability.  Wigfall v. Tideland Utils., Inc.,  354 S.C. 100, 105, 580 S.E.2d 100, 102 (2003).  "A claimant may obtain total disability in one of three ways under [section] 42-9-10."  Id.  "First, a claimant may be presumptively totally disabled" by showing "a physical injury enumerated in [section] 42-9-10."   Id.  "Second, a claimant may establish total disability under [section] 42-9-10 by showing an injury, which is not a [section] 42-9-30 scheduled injury, caused sufficient loss of earning capacity to render him totally disabled."  Id.  "Third, a claimant may establish total disability through multiple physical injuries."  Id. at 106, 580 S.E.2d at 103. 

A claimant is precluded from general disability and limited to compensation for a scheduled disability "[w]here the injury is confined to the scheduled member, and there is no impairment of any other part of the body because of such injury . . .  even though other considerations such as age, lack of training, or other conditions peculiar to the individual, effect a total or partial industrial incapacity."  Singleton v. Young Lumber  Co.,  236 S.C. 454, 471, 114 S.E.2d 837, 845 (1960).  However, an exception permits compensation for a general disability when a claimant can "show that some other part of his body is affected" by the scheduled injury.  Id.  For the purposes of the Act, impairment encompasses a physical deficiency.  Wigfall,  354 S.C. at 104, 580 S.E.2d at 102.  In South Carolina, the "situs of injury" test governs the determination of scheduled recovery benefits.  Therrell v. Jerry's Inc., 370 S.C. 22, 28, 633 S.E.2d 893, 896 (2006).  "[T]he 'situs of the injury' approach focuses on the injured body part in determining how the injury is properly compensated."  Id. at 27, 633 S.E.2d at 896.
Here, the Appellate Panel did not err in denying Bolds's claim for general disability and finding Bolds's back injury was confined to a single scheduled member.  Although evidence was presented showing that Bolds's back injury affected other parts of his body, evidence also existed showing that Bolds's back injury did not result in additional physical deficiencies.  See Singleton,  236 S.C. at 471, 114 S.E.2d at 845 (finding an injury will be confined to a scheduled member award unless an impairment of another part of the body exists); see also Wigfall, 354 S.C. at 104, 580 S.E.2d at 102 (noting for the purposes of the Act, impairment encompasses a physical deficiency).  Dr. Patel, Dr. Ahearn, and Dr. Stovall agreed that Bolds's back injury caused radiculopathy[2] in his left arm and right leg.  However, Dr. Patel, Dr. Ahearn, and Dr. Stovall noted Bolds did not suffer from any additional physical deficiencies from this injury.  Their reports indicated Bolds's arms and legs had normal muscle strength and tone. They also found Bolds had a good range of motion in his arms and legs as well as a normal gait.  Accordingly, we find substantial evidence supports the Appellate Panel decision to award a scheduled member award.[3]   

For the foregoing reasons, the decision of the Appellate Panel is

AFFIRMED.

WILLIAMS, GEATHERS, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.


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

[2] "Radiculopathy refers to any disease that affects the spinal nerve roots."  Medline Plus, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000442.htm (last visited May 18, 2011). 

[3] Additionally, Bolds's argument regarding the Appellate Panel's application of Therrell is without merit.  The Appellate Panel did not improperly apply Therrell's situs of injury test as the reason for declining to award general disability. Instead, in making its ruling, the Appellate Panel found Bolds's back injury was the only permanent injury for which he suffered.