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2011-UP-510 - Auker v, Ridgeway Health and Rehab

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

Donald Auker, Appellant,

v.

Ridgeway Health and Rehab and The Phoenix Insurance Company, Respondents.


Appeal from the Appellate Panel


Unpublished Opinion No.  2011-UP-510 
Submitted November 1, 2011 – Filed November 28, 2011


AFFIRMED


Dennis N. Cannon, Jr., of Camden, for Appellant.

R. Daniel Addison, of Columbia, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM:  Donald Auker appeals the denial of his request for medical treatment for his left knee by the Appellate Panel of the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (the Appellate Panel).  On appeal, Auker argues the Appellate Panel erred in finding (1) his claim was barred by res judicata and (2) he failed to carry his burden of proof in showing that his current need for medical treatment for his left knee was proximately caused by his right knee surgery.  We affirm[1] pursuant to Rule 220(b)(1), SCACR, and the following authorities:

1.  As to whether the Appellate Panel erred in finding Auker's claim was barred by res judicata: Estridge v. Joslyn Clark Controls, Inc., 325 S.C. 532, 539-40, 482 S.E.2d 577, 581 (Ct. App. 1997) ("The doctrine of res judicata prevents the relitigation of issues previously decided between the parties.  The doctrine requires three essential elements: (1) the judgment must be final, valid and on the merits; (2) the parties in the subsequent action must be identical to those in the first; and (3) the second action must involve matter properly included in the first action.  The doctrine of res judicata only acts to preclude relitigation of issues actually litigated or which might have been litigated in the first action." (citation and internal quotation marks omitted)).

2.  As to whether the Appellate Panel erred in finding Auker failed to meet his burden of proof in showing his current need for medical treatment for his left knee was proximately caused by his right knee surgery: Futch v. McAllister Towing of Georgetown, Inc., 335 S.C. 598, 613, 518 S.E.2d 591, 598 (1999) (noting an appellate court need not address appellant's remaining issues when its determination of a prior issue is dispositive).

AFFIRMED.

SHORT, WILLIAMS, and GEATHERS, JJ., concur.


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