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Hansen v. City of Siloam Springs

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

January 31, 2018

SHAWN SETH HANSEN APPELLANT
v.
CITY OF SILOAM SPRINGS AND ARKANSAS MUNICIPAL LEAGUE APPELLEES

         APPEAL FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO. G508652]

          Tolley & Brooks, P.A., by: Evelyn E. Brooks, for appellant.

          Katie Bodenhamer, for appellees.

          PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge.

         Shawn Seth Hansen appeals from a decision of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission (Commission), which affirmed and adopted the decision of the administrative law judge (ALJ) and which found that Hansen had failed to prove he sustained a compensable injury to his left foot. We affirm.

         I. Facts

         In November 2015, Hansen was employed by the City of Siloam Springs as a firefighter and an emergency medical technician. In that capacity, he worked in 24-hour shifts, and during his shift, he was required to stay on premises unless he was performing a work-related function or errand. As a result, his employer provided him with sleeping accommodations and encouraged sleep during the nighttime hours.

         Hansen was working one of his 24-hour shifts on November 5, 2015. At approximately 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning, he awoke from a bad dream in which he believed spiders were crawling on him. In his sleepy stupor, he jumped from his bed and injured his foot, suffering a fracture of his left fifth metatarsal. He ultimately required surgery for his injury.

         Hansen filed a claim for benefits, but his request was controverted on the basis that his injury was not work related but rather was idiopathic in origin. The ALJ agreed, finding that, while his sleep benefited his employer, his dream about spiders was idiopathic in nature. It was his dream that caused him to jump out of bed and injure himself. Thus, because his injury was idiopathic in nature and because sleeping in the employer-provided facilities did not increase his risk of harm, he failed to prove that he had suffered a compensable injury. Hansen appealed the denial of benefits to the Commission, which affirmed and adopted the findings of the ALJ. He now appeals that decision.

         II. Standard of Review

         In reviewing decisions from the Commission, we view the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the Commission's decision and affirm if it is supported by substantial evidence. Garcia v. Jensen Constr. Co., 2017 Ark.App. 450, at 3-4, 527 S.W.3d 749, 752. Substantial evidence is that which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.Id. We defer to the Commission's findings of credibility and the resolution of conflicting evidence. Id.

         III. Analysis

         Hansen alleges that he suffered a compensable injury. A compensable injury is an accidental injury causing internal or external harm that arises out of and in the course of employment. Garcia, supra. A compensable injury must be established by medical evidence supported by objective findings, which are findings that cannot come under the voluntary control of the patient. Id. As the claimant, Hansen bears the burden of proving a compensable injury by a preponderance of the credible evidence. Id.

         Hansen first claims that the Commission erred in finding that he suffered a noncompensable idiopathic injury. The Commission found that the cause of Hansen's injury was his dream about spiders. Because it was the dream that caused him to jump from his bed, not any work-related function, the ...


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