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Bridgeman v. SBC Internet Services Inc.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 7, 2018

CRAIG BRIDGEMAN APPELLANT
v.
SBC INTERNET SERVICES INC. AND OLD REPUBLIC INSURANCE COMPANY APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/10/2016

          MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: CRAIG BRIDGEMAN (PRO SE)

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: THOMAS LYNN CARPENTER JR.

         EN BANC

          GREENLEE, J.

         ¶1. Craig Bridgeman claims the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission (the Commission) erred when it found that he was entitled to permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits for a 50% industrial loss of use of his right upper extremity. According to Bridgeman, the Commission should have found that he suffered a 100% industrial loss of use. Finding no error, we affirm the Commission's judgment.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Bridgeman was working for SBC Internet Services Inc. when he injured his right arm and shoulder. In August 2014, a physician opined that because Bridgeman could no longer climb utility poles, he could not return to his pre-injury position. Following medical treatment, Bridgeman reached maximum medical improvement in January 2015. A functional-capacity evaluation indicated that Bridgeman had permanent work restrictions.[1]After SBC terminated Bridgeman because he could not return to work, Bridgeman filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits.

         ¶3. The administrative judge found that Bridgeman's injury was compensable. In a thorough and detailed opinion, the administrative judge noted that Bridgeman had a 7% medical impairment to his right arm, but it was outweighed by a 50% industrial loss of use. Consequently, the administrative judge found that Bridgeman was entitled to PPD benefits equivalent to two-thirds of his average weekly wage for 100 weeks. Bridgeman appealed. The Commission adopted the administrative judge's findings and upheld her decision. Dissatisfied, Bridgeman appeals.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶4. Our review of the Commission's decision "is limited to determining whether the decision was supported by substantial evidence, was arbitrary and capricious, was beyond the scope or power of the agency to make, or violated one's constitutional or statutory rights." Gregg v. Natchez Trace Elec. Power Ass'n, 64 So.3d 473, 475 (¶8) (Miss. 2011). This Court does not reweigh the evidence, resolve questions of fact, or judge the credibility of witnesses; those are all matters for the Commission. Short v. Wilson Meat House LLC, 36 So.3d 1247, 1251 (¶23) (Miss. 2010). "When the Commission accepts the findings and conclusions of the administrative judge, this Court reviews those findings and conclusions as those of the Commission." Pruitt v. Howard Indus. Inc., 232 So.3d 822, 824 (¶7) (Miss. Ct. App. 2017).

         DISCUSSION

         ¶5. Bridgeman claims that the Commission should have found that he suffered a total industrial loss of use of his right arm. According to Bridgeman, SBC did not adequately rebut the presumption of total loss of use that arose ...


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