P.A.M. TRANSPORT, INC. APPELLANT
DAVID PARKER EASON APPELLEE
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Mayton, Newkirk & Jones, by: David C. Jones, for
& Brooks, P.A., by: Evelyn E. Brooks, for appellee.
P.A.M. Transport, Inc. (P.A.M.), appeals from the June 19,
2017 opinion of the Arkansas Workers' Compensation
Commission (Commission) that ruled appellee David Eason
sustained a compensable injury. The full Commission's
opinion reversed the opinion of the administrative law judge
(ALJ) who ruled Eason failed to prove a compensable injury.
P.A.M.'s sole argument on appeal is that the
Commission's decision is not supported by substantial
evidence. We affirm.
worked for P.A.M. as a truck driver in training. On the day
of the incident, Eason was riding with his mentor, Robert
Flippo. They pulled into a truck stop at approximately 10:26
a.m. to wait out an extended delay of twenty hours before
they could pick up the next load. Upon arriving at the truck
stop, Eason changed his driver log to "off duty" at
10:42 a.m. Before making a personal call, Flippo informed
Eason that they would be practicing the difficult task of
backing up the truck later that day and that Eason should use
the time until then to study for a necessary work-related
test taken at the end of training. Flippo testified that he
did not like letting trainees wander too far from the
vehicle, so he told Eason to stay at least within walking
distance. According to Eason, he studied for approximately
twenty minutes before he decided to put up his phone so he
would not be distracted. While putting his phone on his top
bunk, he fell and injured his left leg. Eason testified that
to get to his bunk he had to climb two stairs up and then get
"[his] left leg up over the top of the mattress and so
[he was] on that last step with [his] right leg." He
explained that his sleeping bag was on top of the mattress,
which caused him to slip, lose his grip, and fall backwards
onto the floor of the cab of the truck. Eason had immediate
pain in his left leg.
Eason had fallen, Flippo called the employer to explain what
happened, and it was decided that Flippo would drive Eason to
a nearby motel so that Eason's father could come pick him
up and take him to get medical treatment. Once back in his
hometown, Eason was initially evaluated at an urgent-care
facility that immediately referred him to the emergency room
where he had surgery on his left knee and femur on April 10,
hearing, the ALJ found that Eason failed to prove he
sustained a compensable injury. Eason appealed to the
Commission; whereupon the full Commission found that Eason
proved he sustained a compensable injury that arose out of
and in the course of his employment. Further, the Commission
found that Eason was entitled to temporary total- disability
benefits from April 6 through July 11, 2016; that his injury
was not idiopathic; and that his injury was not connected to
any alleged preexisting condition.
now appeals, arguing that the full Commission erred in
finding that substantial evidence supports the conclusion
that Eason sustained a compensable left-leg injury while
working for P.A.M. and that the decision 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.
the credibility of witnesses and the weight to be given to
their testimony are within the exclusive province of the
Commission. Webster v. Ark. Dep't of Corr., 2017
Ark.App. 558, at 3, __S.W.3d__, __. Thus, we are
foreclosed from determining the credibility and weight to be
accorded to each witness's testimony, and we defer to the
Commission's authority to disregard the testimony of any
witness, even a claimant, as not credible. Id. When
there are contradictions in the evidence, it is within the
Commission's province to reconcile conflicting evidence
and determine the facts. Id.
compensable injury is defined as "an accidental injury
causing internal or external physical harm to the body . . .
arising out of and in the course of employment." Ark.
Code Ann. § 11-9-102(4)(A)(i). Here, the primary issue
is whether Eason's injury arose out of and in the course
of his employment with P.A.M.
employee is performing employment services when he or she is
doing something that is generally required by his or her
employer. Webster, 2017 Ark.App. 558, at 4,
__S.W.3d__, __. We use the same test to determine whether an
employee is performing employment services as we do when
determining whether an employee is acting within the course
and scope of employment. Pifer v. Single Source
Transp., 347 Ark. 851, 69 S.W.3d 1 (2002). The test is
whether the injury occurred within the time and space
boundaries of the employment when the employee was carrying
out the employer's purpose or advancing the
employer's interest, either directly or indirectly.
Id. Moreover, whether an employee was performing
employment services within the course of employment depends
on the particular facts and circumstances of each case.
appeal, P.A.M. contends that substantial evidence does not
support the Commission's decision that Eason was
performing employment services at the time of his injury.
P.A.M. argues that Eason sustained the injury while
performing a personal activity- returning his cell phone to
his bunk. P.A.M. further asserts that even if Eason had been
studying at the time of injury, the studying was not
mandatory and did not advance the interests of the employer.
Lastly, P.A.M. ...