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PENROD DRILLING COMPANY AND GRANITE STATE INSURANCE CO. v. ARLIS EDGAR ETHERIDGE

MAY 07, 1986

PENROD DRILLING COMPANY AND GRANITE STATE INSURANCE CO.
v.
ARLIS EDGAR ETHERIDGE



BEFORE PATTERSON, ROY NOBLE LEE AND SULLIVAN

SULLIVAN, JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

On February 8, 1981, Etheridge filed a motion to controvert against Penrod and its insurance carrier, alleging that on November 9, 1980, he received a compensable injury while employed by Penrod. On May 4, 1983, the administrative law judge who heard the case, issued an order which found that Etheridge had an average weekly wage on the date of his alleged injury of $412.00; however, the order concluded that Etheridge had failed to prove that his back injury, for which he had been treated, was causally related to his employment by Penrod and, specifically, that he failed to prove that he sustained a compensable injury which arose out of and within the course and scope of his employment with Penrod.

On November 8, 1983, the full Commission affirmed this order. On May 21, 1984, the Circuit Court of Warren County, Mississippi, handed down an opinion and order which stated that the record made a strong case for compensation, with the only defense being the "negative testimony" of the "obviously biased employees" of Penrod. The circuit judge concluded that the administrative judge's and the Commission's orders were not based upon substantial evidence and reversed and remanded to the full Commission for a determination of the extent of temporary total disability and permanent partial

 disability to which the claimant would be entitled.

 The scope of review in workers' compensation cases in both the circuit court and this Court was recently discussed in Olen Burrage Trucking Co. and U.S.F.&G. Co. v. Clarence Clyde Chandler, Deceased, dependents of, 475 So. 2d 437 (Miss. 1985). We stated the following:

 Mississippi Code Annotated 71-3-51 (1972), deals with the Court review of benefits awarded by the Workmen's Compensation Commission. That section states in pertinent part:

 The circuit court shall review all questions of law and of fact. If no prejudicial error be found, the matter shall be affirmed and remanded to the commission for enforcement. If prejudicial error be found, the same shall be reversed and the circuit court shall enter such judgment or award as the commission should have entered.

 Three general principles must be born in mind:

 1. The claimant generally bears the burden of proof to show an injury arising out of employment, and a causal connection between the injury and the claimed disability;

 2. The Commission is the trier of facts, judges the credibility of witnesses, and facts supported by substantial evidence should be affirmed by the circuit court;

 3. Unless prejudicial error is found, or the verdict is against the overwhelming weight of the evidence, the Commission's order should be affirmed.

 Strickland v. M. H. McMath Gin, Inc. 1457 So. 2d 925, 928 (Miss. 1984).

 475 So. 2d at 438-39.

 The administrative law judge largely based ...


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