CARDIE B. BLACKWELL APPELLANT/CROSS-APPELLEE
HOWARD INDUSTRIES, INC. APPELLEE/CROSS-APPELLANT
OF JUDGMENT: 07/20/2016
FROM WHICH APPEALED: JONES COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND
JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. DAL WILLIAMSON TRIAL JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: WILLIAM H. JONES.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: PARKER FORD LEGGETT.
IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
Cardie Blackwell appeals the decision of the Jones County
Circuit Court affirming the Workers' Compensation
Commission's (Commission) decision, denying him total
disability benefits. He cites four alleged instances of
error. Howard Industries Incorporated (Howard)
cross-appeals, citing six errors alleged to have been
committed by the Commission.
Finding no error, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
The procedural history in this case is extensive, as it stems
from a claim that arose on May 22, 2002, when Cardie
sustained a work-related injury to his left elbow. Since this
case is now on its third appeal to this Court, and the record
has been consolidated, we adopt the facts from this
Court's most recent opinion in Blackwell v. Howard
Indus. Inc., 210 So.3d 1018, 1020
(¶¶2-6) (Miss. Ct. App. 2015) (vacated by order on
other grounds relating to jurisdiction) (internal quotations
[Cardie] was working for Howard . . . when he sustained a
work-related injury to his left elbow. He received
temporary-total-disability benefits, and Howard paid for
[Cardie]'s surgical procedure. After a disagreement
regarding his treatment, [Cardie] filed a petition to
controvert. [Cardie] and Howard exchanged volleys of
pleadings and motions between 2003 and 2007.
The administrative judge (AJ) found that [Cardie] was not
entitled to permanent and total disability benefits [because
he failed to participate in reasonable/necessary medical
treatment]. [Cardie] appealed, and the full Commission
affirmed the AJ's judgment. In October 2009, [Cardie]
appealed to the circuit court. Howard successfully moved to
dismiss [Cardie's] appeal because he never filed a brief
with the circuit court. The circuit court issued a deficiency
notice and gave [Cardie] fourteen days to file a brief. After
[Cardie] filed a brief that did not conform to Rule 28(a) of
the Mississippi Rules of Appellate Procedure, Howard
successfully moved to dismiss [Cardie's] appeal.
[Cardie] appealed to this Court, and we held that a second
notice of deficiency should have been sent to [Cardie] and
that lesser sanctions, rather than dismissal, would have been
appropriate. Blackwell v. Howard Indus. Inc., 98
So.3d 463, 465 (¶6) (Miss. Ct. App. 2012). Consequently,
we reversed the circuit court's judgment and remanded the
case for further proceedings. Id.
On remand, Howard filed a motion to strike [Cardie's]
briefs. According to Howard, [Cardie's] briefs failed to
comply with Rule 11 of the Mississippi Workers'
Compensation Commission's Procedural Rules. Howard also
moved to strike [Cardie's] reference to an internet
article on the basis that it was inadmissible hearsay and
irrelevant, it lacked a proper foundation, and it could not
The circuit court agreed with both of Howard's claims. In
its order, the circuit court found that [Cardie's] notice
of appeal did not reference the issues that [Cardie] raised
in his brief. The circuit court granted Howard's motion
to strike [Cardie's] briefs. In addition to the internet
article that Howard moved to strike, the circuit court struck
four other internet articles and texts that [Cardie] attached
as exhibits to his reply brief. After the circuit court
struck [Cardie's] briefs and five articles that were
attached as exhibits, [Cardie] appealed to this Court.
After review, this Court held that the circuit court clearly
erred when it struck Cardie's briefs and dismissed his
appeal on the basis that his notice of appeal inadequately
set forth the grounds of his appeal. We therefore reversed
the circuit court's judgment and remanded the matter for
further proceedings. Blackwell, 210 So.3d at 1019
(¶1). However, the Mississippi Supreme Court granted
Howard's petition for a writ of certiorari and, by order
filed May 12, 2016, found that "the order from which
[Cardie] appealed was not a final judgment on the merits of
the case[, ] and [Cardie's] appeal therefrom [was]
interlocutory in nature." Blackwell v. Howard
Indus., No. 2014-CT-00342-SCT (Miss. May 12, 2016)
(order dismissing appeal). The supreme court dismissed the
appeal, vacated the opinion of this Court, and remanded the
case to the circuit court "for proceedings consistent
with the instant order." Id.
On remand, Cardie filed a motion for reconsideration with the
circuit court, which the circuit court granted on June 24,
2016. In its order, the circuit court, noting that Cardie had
elected to stand on his previously filed brief, granted
Howard twenty days to submit a supporting brief on the merits
of the case. Howard also elected to stand on its previously
filed brief. On July 20, 2016, the circuit court issued its
order affirming the decision of the Commission. Cardie now
appeals from that order.
Appellate review of workers' compensation claims is a
narrow one. The standard of review utilized by this Court
when considering an appeal of a decision of the . . .
Commission is well settled. The Mississippi Supreme Court has
stated that the findings and order of the . . . Commission
are binding on this Court so long as they are supported by
Under settled precedent, courts may not hear evidence in
compensation cases. Rather, their scope of review is limited
to a determination of whether or not the decision of the
[C]ommission is supported by the substantial evidence. If so,
the decision of the [C]ommission should be upheld. The
circuit courts act as intermediate courts of appeal. The
Supreme Court, as the circuit courts, acts as a court of
review and is prohibited from hearing evidence or otherwise
evaluating evidence and determining facts; [w]hile appeals to
the Supreme Court are technically from the decision of the
[c]ircuit [c]ourt, the decision of the [C]ommission is that
which is actually under review for all practical purposes.
As stated, the substantial evidence rule serves as the basis
for appellate review of the [C]ommission's order. Indeed,
the substantial evidence rule in workers' compensation
cases is well established in our law. Substantial evidence,
though not easily defined, means something more than a mere
scintilla of evidence, and that it does not rise to the level
of a preponderance of the evidence. It may be said that it
means such relevant evidence as reasonable minds might accept
as adequate to support a conclusion. Substantial evidence
means evidence which is substantial, that is, affording a
substantial basis of fact from which the fact in issue can be
Toldson v. Anderson-Tully Co., 724 So.2d 399, 401-02
(¶10) (Miss. Ct. App. 1998).
I.Cardie's Statement of ...