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Harper v. Land O' Lakes, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

June 2, 2015

JAMES HARPER, APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE
v.
LAND O' LAKES, INC. AND OLD REPUBLIC INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLEES/CROSS-APPELLANTS

TRIBUNAL FROM WHICH APPEALED: MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 04/30/2014. TRIBUNAL DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED THE ORDER OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE AWARDING APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE PERMANENT PARTIAL DISABILITY BENEFITS UNDER THE MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION ACT; AMENDED THE ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE'S ORDER TO REFLECT A FOUR PERCENT IMPAIRMENT RATING PER LOWER EXTREMITY; AND AFFIRMED THE ADMINISTRATIVE JUDGE'S ORDER DIRECTING APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE TO UNDERGO AN INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINATION.

APPEAL DISMISSED.

FOR APPELLANT: WILLIE GRIFFIN, WILLIE L. BAILEY.

FOR APPELLEES: SANDRA TAYLOR DOTY, ROBERT R. STEPHENSON JR.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., ROBERTS AND JAMES, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, CARLTON, MAXWELL, FAIR AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - WORKERS' COMPENSATION

ROBERTS, J.

[¶1] This appeal and cross-appeal stem from a 2009 work-related injury involving Land O' Lakes Inc. and its employee James Harper. Because we find that there has not been a final judgment, we dismiss the present appeal and cross-appeal as interlocutory.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

[¶2] On March 26, 2009, Harper sustained injuries to his feet when they became caught in a fertilizer conveyor belt. Harper filed a petition to controvert, claiming injuries to his legs and lower back as a result of the work-related accident. His employer, Land O' Lakes Inc., accepted Harper's claims of lower-extremity injuries; however, it denied compensability for his lower-back injury.

[¶3] Following a hearing on March 7, 2013, the administrative judge (AJ) found a fifty percent industrial loss to both of Harper's lower extremities, and the AJ ordered Harper to undergo an independent medical examination (IME) to assess Harper's lower-back claim. Land O' Lakes appealed the AJ's findings to the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission). The Commission affirmed the AJ's award of permanent partial disability benefits for Harper's lower extremities; however, it found a four percent impairment per foot/leg, as opposed

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to the AJ's finding of a fifty percent industrial loss. The Commission also affirmed the AJ's order of an IME in regard to Harper's lower-back claim. It is from this order that Harper and Land O' Lakes now appeal.

ANALYSIS

[¶4] Harper appeals the Commission's finding " that Harper's industrial loss of use of his feet did not exceed [four percent.]" Harper claims that the Commission did not consider all the evidence in making its decision, and that the AJ's decision that he suffered a fifty percent occupation disability to each leg was ...


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