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Brown v. Illinois Tool Works, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 13, 2013

JOHNNIE BROWN, APPELLANT
v.
ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS, INC., ITW/DUO-FAST AND ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLEES

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: BOLIVAR COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/16/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. CHARLES E. WEBSTER. TRIAL COURT DENIED CLAIM FOR WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS AS BARRED BY THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS.

FOR APPELLANT: ELLIS TURNAGE.

FOR APPELLEES: GINGER MOORE ROBEY.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON AND FAIR, JJ., CONCUR. JAMES, J., DISSENTS WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. MAXWELL, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.

OPINION

Page 161

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - WORKERS' COMPENSATION

BARNES, J.

¶1. Johnnie Brown appeals the order of the Circuit Court of Bolivar County, which affirmed the rulings of the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) and administrative judge (AJ) that her claim was time-barred under the two-year statute of limitations set out in Mississippi Code Annotated section 71-3-35 (Rev. 2011). The AJ and Commission had disagreed, however, on the date the statute began to run. The AJ found the statute of limitations began to run no later than November 2001, when Brown was

Page 162

evaluated by a physician and diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome. The Commission disagreed, stating that date did not clearly establish work-related causation, and found the statute began running in January 2003, when the record more clearly established Brown's injury as work related. On appeal, Brown argues that the statute began to run in May 2004, when test results found Brown to have carpal tunnel syndrome.

¶2. Finding no error with the circuit court's decision, we affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶3. Brown began working at the Duo-Fast [1] plant in Cleveland, Mississippi, in August 1987 as a nail equipment operator. She was an employee at the plant for eighteen years, and her maximum salary was $9.50 an hour. Her job involved racking, stacking, and packing nails into cartons, as well as running the machines that collated the nails. It is undisputed that this was repetitive-motion-type work.

¶4. In 1998, Brown complained to her family physician about " arthritic pain" in both hands. On November 16, 2001, she saw Dr. James Warrington, her primary-care physician, for pain in her hands. He noted that she " uses her hands a lot at work," ...


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