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Harper v. Banks, Finley, White & Co. of Mississippi, P.C.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 15, 2014

MILTON HARPER, DECEASED, BY AND THROUGH HIS DEPENDENTS, MAGGIE HARPER AND ANDREA HARPER, APPELLANT
v.
BANKS, FINLEY, WHITE & CO. OF MISSISSIPPI, P.C., APPELLEE

Page 463

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/27/2011. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. WILLIAM A. GOWAN JR. TRIAL COURT REVERSED THE DECISION OF THE MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION AND DENIED WORKERS' COMPENSATION BENEFITS.

FOR APPELLANT: WILLIE T. ABSTON.

FOR APPELLEE: PHILLIP ANDREW LAIRD JR., WILLIAM ANTHONY DAVIS III, H. THOMAS WELLS III.

LEE, C.J. BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ. GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. CARLTON, J., DISSENTS WITH SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION, JOINED BY IRVING, P.J.

OPINION

Page 464

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - WORKERS' COMPENSATION

LEE, C.J.

¶1. This appeal arises from the Hinds County Circuit Court's decision reversing the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission (the Commission) and finding that Milton Harper's conduct disqualified him from receiving workers' compensation benefits. As we find the Commission's decision was supported by substantial evidence, we reverse the judgment of the circuit court and reinstate the decision of the Commission.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. Harper was the managing partner and president of the accounting firm Banks, Finley, White & Company of Mississippi (Banks). He was first diagnosed with high blood pressure on January 4, 1995, by Dr. Marvin Jeter. In October 1995, Harper went to the emergency room after becoming dizzy. At that time, Dr. Jeter began prescribing him blood-pressure medication. Harper saw Dr. Jeter four times from 1995 until 1998. During that time, Harper would intermittently take his blood-pressure medication, which resulted in his blood pressure ranging from normal to elevated.

¶3. On August 3, 2000, Harper was rushed to the emergency room at St. Dominic Hospital. Dr. Jeter examined Harper, noted that he had not been taking his blood-pressure medication, and concluded that he had suffered a stroke. Dr. Jeter referred Harper to Dr. Salil Tuwari, a neurologist. After a series of tests, it was determined that Harper had suffered multiple small-vessel strokes in the brain.

¶4. After resting for two weeks, Harper returned to work, initially part-time and then to his usual full-time schedule of 8:00 a.m. until 6:30 or 7:30 p.m. However, Harper did not work as many weekends as he did prior to his stroke.

¶5. In the early morning of Sunday, July 8, 2001, Harper woke up to go to the restroom. When he returned, Harper's wife, Maggie, asked him a question, and Harper responded with unintelligible noises and became nonresponsive. Harper was taken by ambulance to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, immediately put on life support in the intensive- care unit, and never regained consciousness. On ...


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