FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
& Brooks, P.A., by: Evelyn E. Brooks, for appellant.
Law Firm, P.A., by: William C. Frye, for appellees.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, JUDGE.
Rodriguez-Gonzalez appeals the Arkansas Workers'
Compensation Commission's (Commission's) decision
finding that she failed to establish that she suffered a
compensable injury while performing employment services for
Jamestown Health and Rehab, LLC (Jamestown). On appeal, she
argues that the Commission's decision is not supported by
substantial evidence. We affirm.
worked as a housekeeper for Jamestown. On June 9, 2017, she
slipped and fell on a wet floor in the lobby. She injured her
neck, right shoulder, right hip, right ankle, and right knee.
Jamestown controverted the claim, and the case proceeded to a
hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).
hearing, Rodriguez testified that on June 9, 2017, she was
picking up trash in the Jamestown lobby when she slipped and
fell on a wet floor. She stated that at the time of her fall,
she was helping an employee-in-training clean the lobby. She
testified that she had her cleaning equipment with her. She
further noted that at Jamestown, accidents frequently happen
with the elderly residents and that she had to be on call at
any time. She explained that if a resident or supervisor
needed her help on her way to lunch, she would return to work
to help them.
testified that after she fell, she continued working in her
assigned Hall 300. She stated, however, that her pain
worsened, so she sought medical attention. She noted that she
then went to Elisa Castro, the human-resources officer, and
filled out paperwork. She testified that Castro told her to
take her lunch break and to go to the doctor. She stated that
she had not had a break that day and did not eat lunch. She
testified that she usually eats in the lunchroom. She stated
that she has, on occasion, purchased her lunch in the
cafeteria, but she also sometimes just brings a snack. On
cross-examination, Rodriguez admitted that she had stated in
a prior deposition that at the time of her fall, she was
going to lunch and that her food was in her car.
Chavez, the housekeeping supervisor, testified that employees
have a thirty-minute lunch break and that if employees choose
to leave the facility, they must clock out and then clock
back in when they return. He explained that if employees
remain at the facility, the employees can sit in their cars
in the parking lot or they can eat in the lunchroom. He noted
that thirty minutes is automatically deducted for lunch when
they do not clock out.
further testified that the facility has six halls and that
housekeeping employees are assigned to clean two halls. He
stated that a single housekeeping employee is assigned to
clean the extra areas, which include the lobby and bathrooms.
He testified that if Rodriguez is assigned Halls 300 and 400,
she is not required to clean the lobby or any other areas.
Chavez stated that he saw Rodriguez fall on June 9 and that
she fell while she was walking toward the front door. He
testified that she did not have her cleaning equipment with
her and that he thought she was going to lunch. He noted that
another employee was cleaning the lobby at the time.
the human-resources officer, testified that Rodriguez
reported that she injured herself and that she advised
Rodriguez to complete a witness-statement form. She explained
that Rodriguez did not know how to complete the form so she
assisted her. Castro testified that Rodriguez indicated she
was on her lunch break and that she slipped because the floor
was wet. She noted that the form was completed in Spanish.
further testified that a surveillance camera recorded
Rodriguez's fall. She stated that she watched the video
that showed Rodriguez fall while walking toward the front
door. She noted that Rodriguez did not have any cleaning
equipment with her. She testified that the recording no
longer exists because the system deletes footage after
fifteen days. She believed that Rodriguez parked her car in
the front parking lot.
the hearing, the ALJ entered an order finding that Rodriguez
had not established a compensable injury because she was not
performing employment services at the time of her fall. The
ALJ specifically found that Rodriguez was going to get her
lunch. Rodriguez appealed the ALJ's decision to the
Commission, and the Commission affirmed and adopted the
ALJ's opinion. This appeal followed.
we review only the decision of the Commission, not that of
the ALJ. Queen v. Nortel Networks, Inc., 2012
Ark.App. 188. However, when, as here, the Commission affirms
and adopts the ALJ's opinion, thereby making the findings
and conclusions of the ALJ the Commission's findings and
conclusions, our court considers both the ALJ's and the
Commission's opinions. Mercy Hosp. Fort Smith v.
Hendley, 2015 Ark.App. 527. Our 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. Baxter Reg'l Med. Ctr. v. Ferris, 2018
Ark.App. 625, 565 S.W.3d 149. Substantial evidence exists if
reasonable minds could reach the Commission's conclusion.
Id. The issue is not whether the ...