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Logan v. Klaussner Furniture Corp.

Supreme Court of Mississippi, En Banc

March 15, 2018

BETTYE LOGAN
v.
KLAUSSNER FURNITURE CORPORATION d/b/a BRUCE FURNITURE INDUSTRIES AND AMERICAN CASUALTY COMPANY OF READING, PA.

          Date Of Judgment: 10/23/2015

         ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI

         TRIBUNAL FROM WHICH MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: ROY O. PARKER HALEY WADE McINGVALE, II.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: AMY LEE TOPIK JOSEPH ANTHONY GERACHE, III.

          RANDOLPH, PRESIDING JUSTICE.

         ¶1. Bettye Logan sustained a compensable leg injury while employed at Klaussner Furniture Corporation d/b/a Bruce Furniture Industries ("Klaussner"). An Administrative Judge ("AJ"), and the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission ("Commission"), found that Logan had suffered a sixty-percent loss of industrial use to her left lower extremity, which entitled her to 105 weeks of compensation set at $331.06 for her "scheduled-member" injury under Mississippi Code Section 71-3-17(c)(2). Logan appealed, and the Court of Appeals reversed, finding that the Commission and the AJ had applied the incorrect part of Section 71-3-17 and that either subsection (a) or subsection (c)(25) of the statute - and not subsection (c)(2) - applied. Klaussner and the American Casualty Company, the carrier, petitioned this Court for writ of certiorari. Having granted certiorari, the Court finds that the Commission and the AJ properly awarded Logan permanent-partial disability benefits under Section 71-3-17(c)(2). Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and reinstate and affirm the holding of the AJ and Commission.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. This case is before the Court after a lengthy procedural history, having been heard twice by the Court of Appeals, the Commission, and an AJ. On October 9, 2003, Logan, then employed by Klaussner, tripped and fell at work, sustaining a leg injury. Logan filed a petition to controvert with the Commission on December 9, 2004.

         Logan I [1]

         ¶3. A hearing was held on August 12, 2010. Logan testified that she was working at Klaussner as a cutter and spreader when she tripped on strings of fabric and fell. Logan returned to light-duty work in May 2004. Initially, Logan was accommodated and placed in a position tearing tags from bundles and placing labels on products. Logan was able to remain seated in this position. After two weeks, a Klaussner plant manager suggested that Logan take the bundling job. Logan did not believe that she could perform that job, and the bundling job paid less than her previous position. So Logan took a voluntary layoff. Logan began receiving Social Security disability benefits in May 2005.

         ¶4. Logan stated that, after the accident, she had trouble completing daily activities because of her injury and testified that she began living with her daughter, Ginnie Graham ("Graham"). Graham also testified that, since Logan's accident, she had to take care of her mother, as she could no longer complete daily activities, such as grocery shopping or driving long distances. According to Graham, Logan could not sit upright for more than two or three hours before her leg began to swell.

         ¶5. Extensive medical records and testimony were produced at the hearing, which were summarized by the Court of Appeals:

On the day of the accident, [Logan] saw Dr. Bruce Longest, who then referred her to Dr. Earnest B. Lowe Jr., ...

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