M.A. MORTENSON COMPANIES AND ARCH INSURANCE COMPANY/GALLAGHER BASSETT SERVICES, INC. APPELLANTS
MAE REED APPELLEE
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Dixon Horne PLLC, by: Joseph H. Purvis and Monte D. Estes,
Law Office of Furonda Brasfield, PLLC, by: Furonda Brasfield,
MARK KLAPPENBACH, JUDGE.
M.A. Mortenson Companies, Arch Insurance Company, and
Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc., appeal the decision of the
Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission awarding
benefits to appellee Mae Reed. Appellants contend that
substantial evidence does not support the Commission's
conclusion that Reed's right shoulder injury is
compensable. We affirm.
was employed by M.A. Mortenson Companies as an assembler of
solar panels. She was the only witness to testify at the
hearing before the administrative law judge (ALJ), and her
deposition was also admitted into evidence. According to her
testimony, she was injured on Saturday, November 18, 2017,
when a gust of wind blew a solar panel she was holding into
the air and blew her arm back over her head. She was not in
pain at that time and continued working, but she did stop the
employer's "safety man," Joe Pena, as he drove
around checking on employees. Reed said that after she told
Pena what had happened, he contacted her supervisor on his
walkie-talkie, and two more employees were sent to help Reed
and her coworkers. Reed said that work ended early that day
due to strong winds and heavy rain.
of the incident was Reed's last scheduled day of work
before leaving on a trip out of the country on Tuesday,
November 21. She acknowledged that on Monday before her trip,
a coworker called and told her that the whole crew was being
laid off; however, Reed was not contacted by the employer.
Reed said that her pain started Tuesday night, but she did
not get any medical treatment while out of the country
because no one there spoke English. Reed arrived back home in
the early morning hours of November 28 and immediately went
to the emergency room.
testified that she told emergency-room personnel that the
problems with her shoulder were from a work-related accident;
however, the emergency-room records do not reflect this. A
"triage note," which provides that Reed was seen at
4:13 a.m., states that "[p]atient states that about a
week ago threw right [arm] up and felt like it pulled
something, now it hurts all the time since then." The
next page of the records provides the following:
"Mechanism of injury comment: About a week ago, snatched
right shoulder up too quick, hurt ever since, painful and
hard to lift." Reed was diagnosed with a strained
shoulder and told to follow up with her family physician, Dr.
that same morning, Reed went to the job site to report her
injury. She said that the employer became upset with her and
wanted to know why she had not let go of the panel when it
was blown by the wind. Reed testified that they were taught
to not let go of panels because someone could be injured, and
on this occasion there were people working behind her. She
said that she spoke to Pena, and he remembered her telling
him about the incident with the panel; however, Reed's
boss told her shortly thereafter that Pena said he did not
remember anything. A handwritten statement by Pena dated
December 4, 2017, was admitted into evidence. Pena wrote that
Reed had made a comment that the winds were making it
difficult for her to secure panels, but he said that there
was no other conversation about any incident or injury.
saw Dr. Yelvington for her shoulder injury on December 1 and
again on December 12. Both office notes state in part that
"[t]his is a new problem. The current episode started 1
to 4 weeks ago." Reed testified that she told Dr.
Yelvington that she had hurt herself at work, and she did not
know where the time frame in the notes came from. The
December 1 note does not address how Reed hurt herself, but
the December 12 note recounts the wind-blown-panel incident.
Dr. Yelvington ordered an MRI and recommended steroid
injections and physical therapy for bursitis and "AC
joint arthritis." Reed subsequently saw Dr. Kirk
Reynolds, whose notes recount the incident on November 18 and
that Reed's pain worsened several days later. Dr.
Reynolds recommended an injection and physical therapy for a
rotator-cuff strain. Reed said that a doctor had told her
that fluid was building up in her arm and that this explained
why her shoulder did not hurt immediately. She testified that
she had never had another shoulder injury.
found that Reed had sustained a compensable injury and was
entitled to temporary total-disability benefits and
reasonably necessary medical treatment. The Commission
affirmed and adopted the decision of the ALJ.
reviewing a decision of the Arkansas Workers'
Compensation Commission, this court views the evidence and
all reasonable inferences deducible therefrom in the light
most favorable to the findings of the Commission. Pafford
Med. Billing Servs., Inc. v. Smith, 2011 Ark.App. 180,
381 S.W.3d 921. We must affirm the decision of the Commission
if it is supported by substantial evidence. Id.
Substantial evidence is that evidence which a reasonable mind
might accept as adequate to support a conclusion of the
Commission. Id. The issue is not whether this court
might have reached a different result from the Commission.
Lexicon Holding Co. v. Howard, 2015 Ark.App. 292,
462 S.W.3d 696. If reasonable minds could have reached the
Commission's result, then we affirm. Id.
Questions regarding the credibility of witnesses and the
weight to be given their testimony are within the exclusive
province of the Commission. Pafford, supra.
prove the occurrence of a specific-incident compensable
injury, the claimant must establish by a preponderance of the
evidence (1) that an injury occurred arising out of and in
the scope of employment; (2) that the injury caused internal
or external harm to the body that required medical services
or resulted in disability or death; (3) that the injury is
established by medical evidence supported by objective
findings; and (4) that the injury was caused by a specific
incident and is identifiable by time and place of occurrence.
Ark. Code Ann. § 11-9-102(4) (Repl. 2012).
argue that substantial evidence does not support the
Commission's finding that Reed met her burden of proving
that her injuries arose from the alleged work-related
incident. They note that the testimony of an interested party
is always considered to be controverted, Cooper v. Hiland
Dairy, 69 Ark.App. 200, 11 S.W.3d 5 (2000), and argue
that the only evidence that the alleged incident even
occurred is Reed's self-serving testimony. Appellants
argue that Reed only reported having shoulder pain three days
later after she was told she was being laid off. They point
out that neither the emergency-room records ...