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Huey v. RGIS Inventory Specialists

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 24, 2018


          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/22/2017




          WILSON, J.

         ¶1. George Huey was injured in a car wreck while traveling through Alabama for work. Huey's employer, RGIS Inventory Specialists, took the position that Huey was not entitled to workers' compensation benefits because prior to the wreck he had deviated from the course and scope of his employment by becoming embroiled in a "road rage" incident with another motorist. The Workers' Compensation Commission ultimately denied Huey's claim for benefits on that ground, this Court affirmed, and the Mississippi Supreme Court denied Huey's petition for a writ of certiorari. Huey v. RGIS Inventory Specialists, 168 So.3d 1145 (Miss. Ct. App.) (Huey I), cert. denied, 168 So.3d 1176 (Miss. 2014).

         ¶2. Just under a year after the appellate mandate issued in Huey I, Huey filed a motion asking the Commission to reopen his claim. Huey alleged that his claim had been denied based on a mistake in a determination of fact because new evidence showed that prior testimony about the wreck was unreliable. The Commission denied Huey's motion after finding (1) that the motion was untimely because it was filed more than one year after the Mississippi Supreme Court denied certiorari in Huey I and (2) that Huey failed to present any "newly discovered evidence" and failed to show any mistaken determination of fact.

         ¶3. We affirm the decision of the Commission. Huey's motion to reopen was timely; however, we affirm the Commission's ruling on the merits.


         ¶4. On January 19, 2009, Huey was driving an RGIS van to Tennessee to conduct an inventory audit. On Interstate 59/20 near Livingston, Alabama, he encountered a car driven by Edwin Crawley. While Huey was trying to change lanes, his van nearly collided with Crawley's car. The near miss forced Crawley to swerve and "spin out" off the interstate before regaining control of his car. This set in motion a series of events that ultimately gave rise to Huey's claim. In our prior opinion, we described those events as follows:

[Crawley] began pursuing Huey. According to Huey's testimony . . . it took Crawley approximately ten to fifteen minutes to catch up to him. Crawley passed Huey and moved into Huey's lane. Crawley then slowed down and forced Huey to stop his van. The record indicates that Huey and Crawley were stopped either partially or entirely in the right lane of the interstate. It is undisputed that Huey had enough room to drive around Crawley's car. . . . Huey [testified] that he was looking for the button to activate his flashers, and he had not come to a complete stop, when he was struck from behind by an eighteen-wheeler truck. Huey injured his back in the collision.
Alabama State Trooper Keith Wilson responded to the scene. According to Trooper Wilson, Crawley told him that Huey had been speeding past him and then slamming on his brakes. Crawley added that Huey had done so "for several miles." However, Huey told Trooper Wilson that Crawley had been doing the same thing to him. That is, Huey said that Crawley had been passing him, and then Crawley had been slamming on his brakes while he had been driving in front of Huey. Trooper Wilson later testified during a deposition that both Huey and Crawley admitted to him that they had been driving aggressively.

Huey I, 168 So.3d at 1147 (¶¶3-4).

         ¶5. Based in part on Trooper Wilson's testimony, the Commission found that Huey had parked his van in the right-hand lane of the interstate as part of a "road rage" incident with Crawley. Thus, the Commission found that Huey had departed from the scope and course of his employment, so his injury was not compensable. On appeal, this Court stated that "the record support[ed] more than one possible explanation for why Huey stopped his van." However, we found that "[i]t was within the Commission's discretion to accept Trooper Wilson's testimony" and to then find that a road rage incident was "the best and most reasonable explanation for an individual parking his vehicle in the right-hand lane of an interstate highway." Id. at 1148 (ΒΆ8) (brackets omitted). This Court also concluded that the Commission was not required to accept Huey's version of ...

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