OF JUDGMENT: 06/20/2017
MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: JAMES (JAY) R. FOSTER II.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: BETTY B. ARINDER MICHELLE BARLOW
IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND WILSON, JJ.
Craig Stevenson appeals the judgment of the Mississippi
Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission), arguing
that it erred in denying his motion to reinstate his
workers' compensation claim against GE Healthcare and
Electric Insurance Company (GE Healthcare).
Finding no error, we affirm. FACTS
Stevenson filed a petition to controvert on November 13,
2012, alleging that he sustained a work-related injury on
October 25, 2008. GE Healthcare filed an answer on December
5, 2012, and denied that a work-related injury had occurred.
GE Healthcare also denied that Stevenson was performing
service growing out of or in the course of his employment at
the time of the alleged injury or occupational disease. On
January 8, 2015, the Commission dismissed the claim because
of Stevenson's "failure to respond to a status
request." The order of dismissal stated that
[t]his order will become final unless Claimant or any other
party files a written request for review of this order within
twenty (20) days per Miss. Code Ann. 71-3-47 (Rev. 2000). A
final order of dismissal for failure to respond to a status
request is the rejection of a claim sufficient to trigger the
one-year statute of limitations set forth in Miss. Code Ann.
Section 71-3-53 (Rev. 2000).
Since Stevenson did not appeal the order of dismissal within
twenty days, it became final on January 28, 2015. The record
reveals that he did not file his motion to reinstate
his claim until August 18, 2016, well beyond one year of the
order becoming final, and he did not take any other action to
toll the one-year statute of limitations prescribed by
section 71-3-53. The AJ and, thereafter, the full
Commission denied Stevenson's motion. Stevenson appeals,
claiming that he should not be penalized for his previous
lawyer's inaction because he relied upon his lawyer's
representation that his case was pending.
"The standard of review by which an appellate court
resolves a workers' compensation case is that of
substantial evidence; however, where the issue is one of law
and not of fact, the standard of review is de novo."
Shelby v. Peavey Elecs. Corp., 724 So.2d 504, 506
(¶8) (Miss. Ct. App. 1998). "[T]he commission has
continuing jurisdiction, within limits, to reopen a case in
the doing of which it will not be reversed unless its
discretion has been abused." J.R. Logging v.
Halford, 765 So.2d 580, 585 (¶18) (Miss. Ct. App.
As stated, Stevenson argues that he relied upon his previous
lawyer's representation that his case was pending and
that he should not be penalized for his lawyer's
inaction. He asserts that he was told by his attorney that
his case was pending and that he was simply waiting on the AJ
to issue an order; however, the AJ had already dismissed his
case by way of her January 8, 2015 order. He argues that the
dismissal of this case occurred through no fault of his own.
Stevenson claims that his first attorney died, and his second
attorney did not provide him with the correct information
about the status of his case. He contends that he was
entitled to rely on his attorney's representations and,
therefore, his claim should have been reinstated. He cites