DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/19/2013.
TRIBUNAL FROM WHICH APPEALED: MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION. TRIBUNAL DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE'S AWARD OF PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY BENEFITS FOR FIFTY PERCENT INDUSTRIAL LOSS OF CLAIMANT'S LOWER LEFT EXTREMITY.
FOR APPELLANT: PHIL R. HINTON, WENDELL JETT WILSON, TERRY LYNN WOOD.
FOR APPELLEE: LORALEIGH CHRISTINE PHILLIPS.
BEFORE LEE, C.J., ROBERTS AND CARLTON, JJ. IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - WORKERS' COMPENSATION
¶1. Bobby Settlemires seriously injured his left leg in an on-the-job injury on
September 12, 2008. Settlemires filed a petition to controvert. Capital City Insurance Company (CCI) admitted the injury was work-related but denied Settlemires was permanently disabled. The administrative judge (AJ) awarded Settlemires 87.5 weeks of permanent partial disability benefits for the fifty percent industrial loss of use of his lower left extremity. The Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission affirmed the AJ's decision.
¶2. Settlemires then appealed to this Court. We reversed and remanded for the Commission to determine whether Settlemires raised the presumption of total occupational loss of the scheduled member and, if so, whether CCI adequately rebutted that presumption. See Settlemires v. Capital City Ins. Co., 114 So.3d 789, 792-93 (¶ 12) (Miss. Ct. App. 2013).
¶3. On remand, the Commission determined Settlemires did raise the presumption of total occupational loss of his lower left leg, but CCI adequately rebutted this presumption with overwhelming vocational and medical evidence showing Settlemires had the ability to earn the same wages as those at the time of his injury. Settlemires again appeals, arguing the Commission erred in failing to award him a one hundred percent industrial loss of use of his lower left leg.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
¶4. The standard of review in a workers' compensation case is well settled. If the findings of the Commission are supported by substantial evidence, then they are binding on this Court. Mitchell Buick, Pontiac & Equip. Co. v. Cash, 592 So.2d 978, 980 (Miss. 1991). " The [Commission] sits as the 'ultimate finder of facts' in deciding compensation cases, and therefore, 'its findings are subject to normal, deferential standards upon review.'" Pilate v. Int'l Plastics Corp., 727 So.2d 771, 774 (¶ 12) (Miss. Ct. App. 1999) (quotations omitted). " We are bound even though the 'evidence would convince the [C]ourt otherwise if it were instead the ultimate fact[-]finder.' We will overturn [the] Commission's decision only when ...