Before McMILLIN, P.j., Coleman, And Payne, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMILLIN, P.j.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/07/97
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. MARCUS D. GORDON
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: NEWTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - WORKERS' COMPENSATION
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED COMMISSION'S DECISION TO LIMIT HOLLINGSWORTH'S PERMANENT DISABILITY COMPENSATION TO A PARTIAL DISABILITY OF A SCHEDULED MEMBER
DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED - 12/18/98
¶1. This is a proceeding that originated before the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission. The Commission determined that Paul Hollingsworth had suffered a compensable injury to his arm during the course of his employment at I.C. Isaacs & Company; however, the Commission limited Hollingsworth's permanent disability compensation to a partial disability of a scheduled member. Hollingsworth, believing the severity of his disability warranted greater compensation, appealed to the Circuit Court of Newton County. That court affirmed the action of the Commission and Hollingsworth then perfected this appeal. For reasons which we will proceed to set out, we affirm the decision of the circuit court.
¶2. There is no substantial dispute as to the facts. Hollingsworth was working for Isaacs & Company performing manual labor. He received an injury to his arm while at work in June 1993 when he attempted to stop a bolt of material from rolling into him. A treating physician determined that the injury had strained a previously-existing unhealed condition in the bone structure of Hollingsworth's arm. In order to correct the condition, Hollingsworth underwent a bone graft in December 1993. His subsequent recovery period was an extended one and he was not released as having reached maximum medical improvement until May 1995.
¶3. Hollingsworth's treating physician concluded that he had suffered a permanent impairment to his arm and estimated a twenty-five percent (25%) loss of function. The doctor concluded that Hollingsworth would be medically unable, because of his condition, to repeatedly lift items weighing more than five pounds. Hollingsworth's former position at Issacs & Company required an ability to perform lifting activities that exceeded the treating physician's recommended restrictions.
¶4. Hollingsworth asked to return to work at Isaacs & Company but his former employer declined to rehire him, claiming that he had violated the company policy that absences of over twelve months would result in termination unless explained by a doctor's statement presented to the company. After he was unable to return to work at Isaacs & Company, Hollingsworth obtained employment working in a surveying crew, a job in which he had some prior work experience. He subsequently left that job for reasons that were unrelated to any difficulties with his injured arm.
¶5. Hollingsworth claimed that he thereafter made repeated efforts to find employment in the area where he lived but that his lack of education and a prior work history of largely manual labor limited his employment possibilities to the degree that he could not find a job involving ...