Michael Bell v. Ideal Construction Company, Inc.

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ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS
NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION

ca05-196

DIVISION III

MICHAEL BELL

APPELLANT

V.

IDEAL CONSTRUCTION

COMPANY, INC.

APPELLEE

CA05-196

October 26, 2005

APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION

[NO. F011654]

REVERSED AND REMANDED

John Mauzy Pittman, Chief Judge

The appellant in this workers' compensation case sustained an admittedly-compensable neck fracture when he was struck by an automobile while employed as a flagman by appellee. He filed a claim seeking unpaid past medical and additional temporary total disability benefits for his neck injury, and asserting that he also sustained lower back and head injuries as a result of the accident that required treatment. The administrative law judge denied and dismissed appellant's claim on the strength of his finding that appellant failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he sustained low back and head injuries as a result of his compensable injury. The Commission adopted and affirmed the ALJ's finding and opinion, and this appeal followed.

On appeal, appellant argues that the Commission erred in finding that appellant failed to prove that he sustained low back and head injuries as a result of his compensable injury, and in failing to make any ruling or findings regarding his claims for unpaid medical benefits

and additional temporary total disability benefits. Appellant's second issue has merit, and we reverse and remand on that basis.

In his opinion, affirmed and adopted by the Commission, the ALJ stated that the issues to be decided included appellant's claim for unpaid medical benefits and entitlement to additional temporary total disability benefits relating to his neck injury. However, the only finding made in that opinion was relevant solely to appellant's separate assertion that he also sustained lower back and head injuries, and the claims for unpaid medical and additional temporary total disability benefits were never mentioned again. As we said in Sonic Drive-In v. Wade, 36 Ark. App. 4, 816 S.W.2d 889 (1991):

While there may be evidence in the record to support a finding one way or the other, neither the ALJ nor the Commission resolved the issue by a specific finding of fact. This court does not review decisions of the Commission de novo on the record or make findings of fact that the Commission should have made but did not. Our function is to review the sufficiency of the evidence to support the findings that the Commission does make, and when it fails to make specific findings on an issue, it is appropriate that the case be reversed and remanded for the Commission to make such findings. Wright v. American Transportation, 18 Ark. App. 18, 709 S.W.2d 107 (1987). In order that this case not be decided piecemeal on appeal, we conclude that it should be remanded to the Commission for a specific finding on the issue of whether appellee's medical treatment and expenses were reasonable and necessary.

Id. at 6, 816 S.W.2d at 890-91. We therefore will not, at this time, address appellant's arguments regarding the sufficiency of the evidence to support the Commission's findings that appellant failed to prove that he sustained low back and head injuries, but instead reverse and remand to the Commission for specific findings on the issues relating to unpaid medical and additional temporary total disability benefits before conducting our review.

Reversed and remanded for additional findings.

Bird and Neal, JJ., agree.