Arkin Const. Co. v. Simpkins

Citation99 So.2d 557
PartiesARKIN CONSTRUCTION COMPANY and Bituminous Casualty Corporation, Petitioners, v. Alvin SIMPKINS, Deceased, Mrs. Katherine Simpkins, Gerald Simpkins and Florida Industrial Commission, Respondents.
Decision Date09 October 1957
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida

Edwin H. Underwood, Jr., Miami, and Lawrence G. Lally, Coral Gables, for petitioners.

Nichols, Gaither, Green, Frates & Beckham, Miami, for Alvin Simpkins, Deceased, Katherine Simpkins and Gerald Simpkins.

Rodney Durrance, Tallahassee, for Florida Industrial Commission.

O'CONNELL, Justice.

The widow and minor son of the deceased claimant, Alvin Simpkins, Sr., were awarded death benefits by the Deputy Commissioner. The carrier and employer, Bituminous Casualty Corporation and Arkin Construction Company, petition this Court for writ of certiorari to review the order of the full commission which affirmed the award made by the Deputy Commissioner.

Simpkins, the deceased claimant, was a fifty-five year old carpenter employed by Arkin Construction Company, one of the petitioners. His duties consisted of constructing wooden forms for the pouring of concrete. The forms were made out of plywood sheets weighing from 15 to 20 pounds. Simpkins and a fellow carpenter would use a scaffold to stand upon in order to place the plywood panels in the proper position.

On Thursday, January 26, 1956, at about 11:00 A.M., Simpkins and another carpenter, John Offret, were standing on a scaffold, about five feet above a concrete floor, when it suddenly shifted or collapsed. Simpkins landed in a stooped position with his feet beneath him, skinning the inside of his left leg. Simpkins got up immediately, helped reassemble the scaffold and returned to work, working the balance of the day at his normal duties and at his normal speed.

The following morning, Friday, Simpkins returned to work. He was limping slightly. His supervisor insisted that he go to the company doctor for an examination, which he did. After examination and treatment for the leg injury by the doctor he returned to his work and continued to work the remainder of the day.

At the end of the work day Simpkins went to a Moose Hall near his home and played pool for about an hour and a half. He then went home, ate his evening meal and retired as usual about 11:00 P.M.

At approximately 3:00 A.M. the following morning, Saturday, January 28, 1956, Simpkins' wife was awakened by his heavy snoring. She found him to be perspiring heavily and tried to awaken him. She was unsuccessful and Simpkins died sometime between 3:00 and 3:30 A.M., January 28, 1956.

An autopsy was held. The report thereof lists the death to have been caused by 'myocardial failure due to myocardial fibrosis and coronary atherosclerosis with insufficiency.' The death certificate listed the immediate cause of death as general visceral congestion.

In addition to the foregoing facts it was established that prior to his death Simpkins, the deceased employee, had been in apparent good health, other than for a sinus ailment. He had not prior to his death, either before or after his fall, evidenced any objective symptoms of heart trouble. One witness for the claimants related a conversation which he claimed to have had with Simpkins at the Moose Hall on Friday afternoon, in which conversation the witness stated that Simpkins, in telling about the accident, put his hand under his heart, but as we construe the record this witness' testimony was stricken. At best the bare statement that Simpkins put his hand under his heart without any other surrounding evidence or conversational background remains in the record.

The Deputy Commissioner had in evidence before him a statement of Dr. Herrero, the doctor who examined Simpkins and treated him for a skinned leg on Friday, the day after the fall.

In his statement Dr. Herrero said that Simpkins came to him on Friday, January 27, the day after the fall. He said Simpkins had 'an extensive erosion on the inner surface of the left leg and knee, and an abrasion on the left side.' The doctor said that Simpkins complained of no other injury nor of pain in any area other than the leg, did not appear to be in pain, was jolly, was not nervous, and did not show any signs of shock or approaching shock. The doctor said Simpkins 'was an apparently normal person with a slight injury to the leg.' Dr. Herrero, when informed of Simpkins' death, expressed surprise and suggested an autopsy be taken. The report made by the doctor to the carrier for workmen's compensation indicated Dr. Herrero did not examine Simpkins for any heart disease.

John Offret, the carpenter who had been working with the deceased, testified that Simpkins gave no evidence to him of shortness of breath, made no complaints of stomach pain, or other complaint of pain and that except for limping on his skinned leg he appeared normal. Offret testified that after the fall, as before it, Simpkins carried his full load of the work.

There is no dispute that Simpkins' fall and any injury caused thereby is compensable. It is agreed that he died as a result of heart failure. The only question which we are required to answer is whether there is substantial competent evidence in the record to support the finding of the Deputy Commissioner that the fall caused the heart failure.

In addition to the facts above stated the record contains the testimony of two heart specialists, one produced by the carrier, the other by the claimants. Neither of these specialists had examined or treated the deceased. Both had examined the autopsy report and certain reports of medical examinations of the deceased made prior to the fall. Both had the benefit of the facts of this case as above stated.

The specialist produced by claimants stated that in his opinion the fall and resulting pain and tension precipitated or 'triggered' the occurrence of the fatal heart attack on Saturday.

The other specialist, produced by the carrier, testified that he did not see 'how a fall of that character at that time had anything to do with his (Simpkins') dying quietly in his sleep that much later.'

The specialist produced by the carrier felt that the autopsy report did not reveal the exact cause of death and did not suggest a recent change in the heart such as might have resulted from shock. He felt that if the shock from the fall had caused the failure, the failure would have come about more promptly, or at least the symptoms would have appeared more promptly--the man would...

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    • April 24, 2003 witness based on facts and inferences not supported by the evidence in a cause has no evidential value." Arkin Construction Co. v. Simpkins, 99 So.2d 557, 561 (Fla.1957). An expert's opinion, if based upon an erroneous concept of law, is equally devoid of competency. See Stubbs v. St......
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    ......307, 79 N.W.2d 640; Oscar Mayer & Co. v. Industrial Commission, 219 Wis. 474, 263 N.W. 88; Arkin Construction Co. v. Simpkins, . Page 893. Fla., 99 So.2d 557; Johnston v. Industrial Commission, 3 ......
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    ...and properly sustained, as the hypothetical question was not based on facts previously adduced in the evidence. Arkin Construction Company v. Simpkins, Fla.1957, 99 So.2d 557; Fekany v. State Road Department, Fla.App.1959, 115 So.2d 418; Young v. Pyle, Fla.App.1962, 145 So.2d 503; Monsalvat......
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    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 15, 1993
    ...of the expert cannot constitute proof of the existence of the facts necessary to the support of the opinion." Arkin Constr. Co. v. Simpkins, 99 So.2d 557, 561 (Fla.1957). The proffer of expert opinion is not sufficient to eliminate the necessity of proving the foundation facts necessary to ......
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1 books & journal articles
  • Cross-Examining Causation Experts
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Exposing Deceptive Defense Doctors - Vol. 1-2 Volume 2 Medical experts
    • April 1, 2018
    ...the expert cannot constitute proof of the existence of the facts necessary to the support of the opinion. Arkin Constr. Co. v. Simpkins, 99 So.2d 557 (Fla.1957). 8. This longstanding common law requirements embodied in the requirements in §90.702, Florida Statutes, that “the opinion is admi......

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