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Bradley v. Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

August 20, 2019

JONATHAN BRADLEY APPELLANT
v.
PUBLIC EMPLOYEES' RETIREMENT SYSTEM OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 03/21/2018

          HINDS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. TOMIE T. GREEN COURT TRIAL JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: GEORGE S. LUTER THOMAS UPTON REYNOLDS II

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: SAMUEL MARTIN MILLETTE JANE L. MAPP.

          BEFORE CARLTON, P.J., GREENLEE AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.

          WESTBROOKS, J.

         ¶1. Jonathan Bradley filed an application to receive disability benefits through the Public Employees' Retirement System of Mississippi (PERS). The PERS's Medical Board determined that Bradley failed to provide sufficient evidence to support that he was disabled under Mississippi Code Annotated section 25-11-113 and 25-11-114 (Rev. 2010). Bradley appealed the PERS Medical Board's decision to the PERS Disability Appeals Committee. The Committee agreed with the PERS Medical Board's recommendation to deny both of Bradley's claims for non-duty and duty-related disability benefits and submitted its recommendation to the PERS Board of Trustees, which agreed with the Committee. Bradley then appealed to the Circuit Court of Hinds County, and the circuit court affirmed the PERS Board of Trustees' order. Aggrieved, Bradley appeals to this Court. After review of the record, we affirm.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         ¶2. Bradley worked as a correctional supervisor for the Mississippi Department of Corrections at the Greenwood Restitution Center. Bradley was vested in the system at the time of the hearing with 24.75 years of service. Bradley described his typical duties as inspecting the building for cleanliness and observing staff perform their jobs, also maintaining documentation. Bradley testified that he occasionally had to "shake down" inmates as they entered and exited the unit. His other occasional duties including performing hourly counts of offenders, acquiring "jobs" for inmates, performing computer work, and verifying schedules and employee time sheets. He also had to drive offenders in the van on certain occasions. Bradley stated he worked with offenders about 90% of the day.

         ¶3. Between August 2008 and September 2009, Bradley was temporarily removed from work by Dr. Harold Wheeler for situational depression and anxiety. In November 2009, Bradley complained of upper arm pain and sought treatment from Dr. Jimmy Miller, a neurosurgeon, in December 2009. Dr. Miller recommended physical therapy.

         ¶4. In January 2010, he slipped on ice and fell while escorting an offender. After Bradley's fall in January 2010, he was treated at Greenwood Leflore Hospital by Dr. John Hollister for purported lower back pain on the left side and left shoulder pain. An x-ray of the lumbar (lower back) showed mild degenerative-disk disease at L5-S1; however, there was no sign of an acute injury. Bradley was prescribed anti-inflammatory medicine for his shoulder and released.

         ¶5. In July 2010, Bradley sought treatment from Dr. Wheeler for back pain. In a form listed as a "Workmen's Compensation Visit Report," Dr. Wheeler noted that Bradley suffered from chronic neck pain and recommended that Bradley use a heating pad. Dr. Wheeler also temporarily removed Bradley from work to undergo physical therapy; however, Bradley was released to return to work without restrictions in August 2010.

         ¶6. In March 2011, Bradley tried to restrain an offender who had attacked another officer. Bradley was struck several times on his right forearm and shoulder, resulting in a swollen right arm. Nurse Practitioner Yvonne Tanner, who worked for Greenwood Comprehensive Medical Clinic, treated Bradley on behalf of Dr. Wheeler and noted that while he had difficulty coming to a standing position, he was able to return to work with no restrictions. This visit was also on a "Workmen's Compensation Visit Report" form.

         ¶7. Bradley made appointments with Dr. Wheeler and Nurse Tanner again in 2011 and 2012 listing them as Workers' Compensation visits, citing chronic back pain. As a result, Bradley was restricted from bending and lifting more than 20 pounds; however, Dr. ...


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