OF JUDGMENT: 02/28/2018
MISSISSIPPI WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION
COURT ATTORNEYS: GARNER JAMES WETZEL JAMES KENNETH WETZEL
WILLIAM BIENVILLE SKIPPER
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: JAMES KENNETH WETZEL
JAMES WETZEL ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: WILLIAM BIENVILLE
SKIPPER SUZANNE C. HUDSON
Robert Sheffield was injured on the job while working for
S.J. Louis Construction (S.J. Louis). Sheffield filed a
petition to contravert, and the administrative law judge (AJ)
awarded Sheffield permanent-partial disability benefits. S.J.
Louis appealed the decision to the full Mississippi
Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission), and the
Commission reversed this finding, concluding that Sheffield
did not suffer any additional disability from the 2015 injury
than that caused by a 2010 injury. Sheffield appealed, and
the Court of Appeals reversed the Commission's decision.
S.J. Louis filed a petition for writ of certiorari with this
Court. Because we find that the Commission's decision was
supported by substantial evidence, we reinstate and affirm
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On June 1, 2015, while employed as a truck driver by S.J.
Sheffield lost his balance when he attempted to look into the
back of his dump truck. Although Sheffield grabbed a handle
on the side of his truck to steady himself, he still missed
the step beneath him. Sheffield experienced immediate
lower-back pain, which he reported to his supervisor, Max
Hardin. Hardin then reported the injury to his supervisor,
Telley Lopez, who took Sheffield to see Dr. Rickey Chance.
Dr. Chance ordered X-rays of Sheffield's back and
prescribed Sheffield pain medicine and muscle relaxers.
Sheffield participated in physical therapy but had to stop
due to increased pain. He followed up with Dr. Chance, who
recommended an MRI and referred Sheffield to Dr. Wolfson.
On August 13, 2015, Sheffield saw Dr. Wolfson, who then
referred him to Dr. Samir Tomajian, a pain-management
specialist. After treatment methods provided minimal or
temporary pain relief, Sheffield underwent a
functional-capacity evaluation (FCE). The physical therapist
who performed the FCE recommended that Sheffield perform only
light-duty work and limit standing and sitting for prolonged
time periods. On October 27, 2015, Dr. Eric Amundson
performed an employer medical evaluation (EME) on Sheffield.
Dr. Amundson found Sheffield could return to work in a
moderate-duty capacity, but he recommended that Sheffield
lift no more than forty pounds.
In February 2016, Dr. Wolfson found that Sheffield had
reached [maximum medical improvement, or] MMI[, ] for his
2015 back injury. Sheffield testified that Dr. Wolfson stated
he could do nothing else and did not recommend surgery for
Sheffield. Dr. Wolfson assigned Sheffield a 7% impairment
rating to the body as a whole and stated Sheffield was
capable of performing light-duty work. After Dr. Wolfson
released Sheffield to return to work, Sheffield began
completing job applications in May 2016. Sheffield applied
for at least 130 jobs and even contacted Hardin, his former
supervisor at S.J. Louis. S.J. Louis informed Sheffield,
however, that it had no job openings.
Sheffield v. S.J. Louis Constr. Inc., No.
2018-WC-00385-COA, 2019 WL 1349766, at *2-3 (Miss. Ct. App.