Pilgrim's Pride Corporation and Gallagher Basset Services, Inc. v. Robert Sowell

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ARKANSAS COURT OF APPEALS
NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION

ca05-611

DIVISION II

PILGRIM'S PRIDE CORPORATION AND GALLAGHER BASSET SERVICES, INC.

APPELLANTS

V.

ROBERT SOWELL

APPELLEE

CA 05-611

December 7, 2005

APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION

[NO. F304735]

AFFIRMED

Terry Crabtree, Judge

In this workers' compensation case, appellee worked for appellant Pilgrim's Pride Corporation from 1974 until 1987, and again from 1998 until March of 2003. Sometime in 1998, appellee became the lead man in the paw room where heated chicken feet are transported by a conveyor and dropped into a large vat of water for chilling. As lead man, appellee's primary responsibility was shoveling ice into the vat from a rectangular tub that was five feet high and three or four feet wide on each side. As it was necessary to keep the water in the vat chilled at forty degrees Farenheit, appellee shoveled an estimated sixteen to eighteen thousand pounds of ice in an eight-hour shift.

In February 2003, appellee began experiencing pain in his back such that he could no longer work after March 1, 2003. He underwent a laminectomy at two levels on May 15, 2003, and he was released to return to work with restrictions in October 2003. However, appellant sent appellee home from work saying that he would be contacted when a job was found that he could perform. Appellee was later told that he would not be returned to work.

The Commission disagreed with the decision of an administrative law judge denying

appellee's claim for benefits. Instead, the Commission found that appellee had met his burden of proving a gradual-onset injury to his back and had proved that he was entitled to temporary-total benefits from April 1, 2003, until a date yet to be determined. Appellant contends that the Commission's findings are not supported by substantial evidence. We affirm.

When reviewing decisions from the Commission, we view the evidence and all reasonable inferences deducible therefrom in the light most favorable to the Commission's findings and affirm if supported by substantial evidence. Poulan Weed Eater v. Marshall, 79 Ark. App. 129, 84 S.W.3d 878 (2002). Substantial evidence is that which a reasonable person might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Cooper v. Hiland Dairy, 69 Ark. App. 200, 11 S.W.3d 5 (2000). We will not reverse the Commission's decision unless we are convinced that fair-minded persons with the same facts before them could not have reached the conclusions arrived at by the Commission. White v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 339 Ark. 474, 6 S.W.3d 98 (1999). It is well established that the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be given their testimony are matters exclusively within the province of the Commission. Freeman v. Con-Agra Frozen Foods, 344 Ark. 296, 40 S.W.3d 760 (2001).

The only substantial question in this appeal is the sufficiency of the evidence to support the Commission's findings, and the Commission's findings of fact, conclusions of law, and opinion adequately explain its decision. After examining the record, we have determined that the Commission's decision is supported by substantial evidence, and we affirm by memorandum opinion. In re Memorandum Opinions, 16 Ark. App. 301, 700 S.W.2d 63 (1985).

Affirmed.

Baker and Roaf, JJ., agree.