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Stewart v. Dynamic Environmental Services, LLC

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

January 23, 2018

DALTON RAY STEWART APPELLANT
v.
DYNAMIC ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, LLC AND HDI-GERLING AMERICA INSURANCE COMPANY APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/20/2017

         COMPENSATION COMMISSION MISSISSIPPI WORKERS'

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: DAVID N. GILLIS WAYNE E. FERRELL JR.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: JILL RENEE MILLER

          BEFORE LEE, C.J., GREENLEE AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Dalton Ray Stewart filed a motion to controvert with the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) seeking disability benefits after he suffered an injury in an accident while employed by Dynamic Environmental Services LLC (Dynamic). Following discovery, Dynamic and HDI-Gerling America Insurance Company (HDI) filed a motion to dismiss Stewart's claim for lack of jurisdiction. The administrative judge found that the Commission lacked jurisdiction and dismissed Stewart's claim. Stewart appealed the order to the full Commission. The Commission dismissed Stewart's petition to controvert based on lack of jurisdiction in Mississippi. Stewart timely appeals.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. In 2012, Stewart was employed as a truck driver with Dynamic at its location in Pearsall, Texas. He left briefly and reapplied for employment as a truck driver in 2014. At all times pertinent to this case, Dynamic's headquarters were located in Texas. At the time, Stewart was living in Mississippi.

         ¶3. It is undisputed that Stewart contacted Chad Fullilove, an employee with Dynamic, via Facebook, regarding employment. Further, Stewart filled out the appropriate preemployment paperwork and submitted to a drug test in Pleasanton, Texas. While completing the preemployment process, Stewart stayed in Dynamic's on-site housing in Charlotte, Texas. Sam Moak, the safety director with Dynamic, presented a sworn affidavit stating that the trucks were kept at Dynamic's facility in Texas.

         ¶4. During the ninety-day probationary period, Stewart was involved in a single-vehicle rollover accident in Raegan County, Texas, on November 4, 2014. He received medical treatment at a hospital in Midland, Texas. In 2015, Stewart filed a claim for benefits under the Texas workers' compensation administrative process and began receiving benefits. However, Dr. Dropadi Kewairamani, the treating physician in Texas, declared that Stewart reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) only eight days after the accident.

         ¶5. Subsequently, Stewart returned to Mississippi and sought medical treatment. Stewart asserts that he was diagnosed with post-mild traumatic brain injury, depression, memory loss, vertigo, postconcussion syndrome, low-back pain, irritable-bowel syndrome, and a sleep disorder.

         ¶6. Stewart maintains that he was treated by another Mississippi physician and diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and depression, and that he had not reached MMI. As a result, Stewart filed a motion to controvert with the Commission. The claim was based on Stewart's injuries sustained while driving for Dynamic on November 4, 2014.

         ¶7. Dynamic and HDI filed a motion to dismiss Stewart's claim for lack of jurisdiction within Mississippi. After a hearing, the administrative judge issued an order dismissing the claim for lack of jurisdiction, and Stewart appealed the dismissal to the full Commission. The Commission affirmed the ...


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