FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION
Robbins, pro se appellant.
Williams & Meeks, L.L.P., by: Gene Williams, for
Robbins appeals the September 7, 2016 opinion of the Arkansas
Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission) in which it
adopted the February 25, 2016 opinion of the Administrative
Law Judge (ALJ). The ALJ ruled that Robbins failed to prove a
compensable injury. Robbins's sole argument on appeal is
that the Commission's decision is not supported by
substantial evidence. We affirm.
who was thirty-one years old at the time, sustained a
cardiovascular accident on July 6, 2015, at approximately
10:00 p.m. while at home, which resulted in sudden cardiac
arrest and required resuscitation followed by
hospitalization, medical treatment, and disability benefits.
Robbins worked as a painter at HilArk Industries, where he
had worked for more than a year, and his duties consisted
primarily of prepping and painting dump truck beds. On the
day of the incident, Robbins went to work as he normally did,
prepped the paint, put on a special paint suit, entered the
paint booth,  and began the painting process. Robbins
became overheated while in the paint booth and went to the
air-conditioned employee break room to cool down. Another
employee in the break room, who worked as an assistant
firefighter, told Robbins he appeared to be overheated, so
the man notified Dennis Edwards, chief financial officer of
HilArk, to tend to Robbins. Edwards repeatedly asked Robbins
if he felt well, if he had chest pain, if he had shortness of
breath, if he needed medical attention, or if he wished to go
home. Robbins repeatedly said he just needed to cool off and
that his fiancée could not pick him up from work until
his normal quit time of 3:30 p.m.
Johnson, Robbins's fiancée, testified that Robbins
became very emotional when he got in the car. She said
Robbins told her that "[he] thought [he] could die"
and that "he just got too hot." Later that night,
she explained he could not get comfortable, so he went to the
living room to sit up. Johnson followed him into the living
room where he began to "[make] noises, [turn] colors,
and [foam] at the mouth." He was resuscitated by
paramedics and transported to the hospital where he survived.
time of the incident, Robbins had a long history of drug
abuse. Just weeks prior, he was advised to undergo narcotics
counseling because of depression and suicidal thoughts. When
the ambulance arrived, Johnson told the paramedics that
Robbins had an opiate addiction, thinking he had overdosed.
However, Robbins had a negative drug screen on the night of
the incident. Once Robbins was checked in at the hospital,
Johnson informed the doctor that Robbins had overheated at
work but that he had started to cool down.
initially applied for short-term disability and Social
Security disability and signed various forms indicating that
his disability was not work related. It was not until after
talking with one of his doctors that he pursued a
workers'-compensation claim; Dr. Steve Hutchins
apparently told him that heat could have caused his injury.
In his workers'-compensation claim, Robbins contended
that the cardiac arrest was brought about as the result of
exposure to chemicals, excessive heat, and dehydration
associated with his employment.
made extensive findings of fact and conclusions of law, which
the Commission adopted and affirmed, and ultimately found
that Robbins failed to prove that he had sustained a
compensable injury within the meaning of the Arkansas
workers'-compensation laws. Robbins appealed, asserting
that the decision of the Commission is not supported by
substantial evidence and should be reversed.
standard of review in workers'-compensation cases is well
settled. On appeal, this court views the evidence in the
light most favorable to the Commission's decision and
affirms the decision if it is supported by substantial
evidence. Schall v. Univ. of Ark. for Med. Scis.,
2017 Ark.App. 50, at 2, 510 S.W.3d 302, 303. Substantial
evidence exists if reasonable minds could reach the
Commission's conclusion. Id. The issue is not
whether the appellate court might have reached a different
result from the Commission, but whether reasonable minds
could reach the result found by the Commission: if so, the
appellate court must affirm. Id.
questions and the weight to be given to witness testimony are
within the Commission's exclusive province. Id.
The Commission's decision to accept or reject medical
opinions and how it resolves conflicting medical evidence has
the force and effect of a jury verdict. Id.
issue of compensability is controlled by the provisions of
Arkansas Code Annotated section 11-9-114, and the standard of
proof in heart-attack cases is high, as follows:
(a) A cardiovascular, coronary, pulmonary, respiratory, or
cerebrovascular accident or myocardial infarction causing
injury, illness, or death is a compensable injury only if, in
relation to other factors contributing to the physical ...