Burgess v. State Comp. Com'r, No. 8987.

CourtSupreme Court of West Virginia
Writing for the CourtFOX, President
Citation5 S.E.2d 804
PartiesBURGESS. v. STATE COMPENSATION COM'R et al.
Docket NumberNo. 8987.
Decision Date07 November 1939

5 S.E.2d 804

BURGESS.
v.
STATE COMPENSATION COM'R et al.

No. 8987.

Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia.

Nov. 7, 1939.


Dissenting Opinion Dec. 14, 1939.

Rehearing Denied Jan. 22, 1940.

Syllabus by the Court.

1. The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board is a fact-finding body, and its rulings on questions of fact will not be set aside by this court unless they appear to be clearly wrong.

2. Where, prior to and up to the date when compensation is awarded or increased, a claimant has been actually employed and has received wages in excess of the amount he would have received as compensation during such period, had the same been awarded at the beginning thereof, the Compensation Commissioner or the Compensation Appeal Board may, in the discretion of either, in the order finding the character and percentage of disability and making an award or increase, provide that payments thereon shall begin at the date thereof.

KENNA and RILEY, JJ., dissenting.

Appeal from ruling of Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board.

Proceeding under the Workmen's Compensation Act, Code 1931, 23-1-1 et seq., by Warnie Burgess, claimant, opposed by the Koppers Coal Company, employer. From an award of the State Compensation Commissioner, the claimant appealed to the Compensation Appeal Board. From an order of the board finding claimant to be totally and permanently disabled, but refusing to direct that their payments under the order should commence as of the date of a previous award, the claimant appeals, and the employer cross-assigns error.

Order affirmed.

[5 S.E.2d 805]

Christie & Christie, of Keystone, for appellant.

Clarence W. Meadows, Atty. Gen., and Marlyn E. Lugar, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board.

Sale, St. Clair & Sale, of Welch, for appellee Koppers Coal Co.

FOX, President.

The claimant, Warnie Burgess, an employee of the Koppers Coal Company, suffered an injury in the course of and resulting from his employment, on September 8, 1933. He applied for compensation and received an award on a thirty per cent permanent partial disability basis, which was later increased to fifty per cent, the last payment under which was made on July 16, 1937. On April 2, 1938, claimant filed his petition asking that he be given a total and permanent disability rating. On July 19, 1938, the previous rating was continued but the percentage of disability was increased to seventy per cent, to which action of the Commissioner objection was made by the claimant, and a hearing had with the result that the seventy per cent award was "ratified and affirmed" by the Commissioner on March 21, 1939. On appeal to the Compensation Appeal Board the claimant was, on June 24, 1939, found to be totally and permanently disabled, and compensation directed to be paid on that basis, beginning as of the date of the entry of the order. It is the contention of the claimant that payments under this order should have commenced as of July 17th, 1937, immediately following the date when payments under the previous award ceased. It is obvious that under the order of the Appeal Board the claimant will receive no compensation for the period between July 16, 1937, and June 24, 1939.

The employer defends the action of the Appeal Board in directing payments under its award to begin on June 24, 1939; but by way of cross-assignment of error says the Appeal Board did not have authority to re-rate the disability resulting from the original injury, without evidence of substantial progression or aggravation thereof, and it is contended that no such evidence appears in the record.

Considering first the cross-assignment of error, we must bear in mind the repeated holdings of this court that the compensation statute must be given a liberal interpretation in order that its beneficent purposes may not fail through a strict construction of its terms. McVey v. Chesapeake & Potomac Tel. Co., 103 W.Va. 519, 138 S.E. 97; Caldwell v. Workmen's Compensation Com'r, 106 W.Va. 14, 144 S.E. 568; Kincannon v. State Compensation Com'r, 107 W.Va. 533, 149 S.E. 665; Bonner v. State Compensation Com'r, 110 W. Va. 38, 156 S.E. 847; Vandall v. State Compensation Com'r, 110 W.Va. 61, 62, 158 S.E. 499; Martin v. State Compensation Com'r, 111 W.Va. 420, 162 S.E. 486. Also, the rule no less well established that the Appeal Board is a fact-finding tribunal and that its findings will not be set aside by this court unless clearly wrong. Rasmus v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 117 W.Va. 55, 184 S.E. 250; Moore v. State Compensation Com'r, 118 W.Va. 578, 191 S.E. 292. The record shows a serious spinal injury, the first award for which was for thirty per cent disability, later increased to fifty per cent. Within the statutory period a petition was filed asking that the case be reopened on the ground that his condition resulting from his injury had progressively grown worse, and stating the particulars thereof. Reports of physicians support the finding of total permanent disability, which in itself argues a change from his condition at the time the thirty and then fifty per cent disability was found by the Commissioner. Either his condition had progressively grown worse, or there should have been a finding of total permanent disability at the time the thirty and fifty per cent awards were made. We prefer to act on the assumption that the proper findings were made and that the condition of the claimant did grow worse after the dates of said awards. We cannot say that the holding of the Appeal...

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34 practice notes
  • Pennington v. State Workmen's Compensation Com'r, No. 12934
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 7, 1970
    ...S.E.2d 626; Prince v. Compensation Commissioner, 123 W.Va. 67, 13 S.E.2d 396; Burgess v. State Compensation Commissioner, 121 W.Va. 571, 5 S.E.2d 804; Moore v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 118 W.Va. 578, 191 S.E. 292; Rasmus v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 117 W.Va. 55, 184 ......
  • State ex rel. McKenzie v. Smith, No. 29645.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • June 28, 2002
    ...Johnson v. State Workmen's Compensation Comm'r, 155 W.Va. 624, 186 S.E.2d 771 (1972); Burgess v. State Compensation Comm'r, 121 W.Va. 571, 5 S.E.2d 804 (1939); Martin v. State Compensation Comm'r, 111 W.Va. 420, 162 S.E. 486 (1932); Vandall v. State Compensation Comm'r, 110 W.Va. 61, 158 S.......
  • Walk v. State Compensation Com'r, No. 10214
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • April 14, 1950
    ...by him. See Blosser v. State Compensation Commissioner, W.Va., 51 S.E.2d 71; Burgess v. State Compensation Commissioner, 121 W.Va. 571, 5 S.E.2d 804; Gay Coal & Coke Company v. Workmen's Compensation Commissioner, 121 W.Va. 200, 2 S.E.2d [134 W.Va. 227] 265; Johnson v. State Compensatio......
  • Buckalew v. State Compensation Director, No. 12394
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • February 23, 1965
    ...S.E.2d 626; Prince v. Compensation Commissioner, 123 W.Va. 67, 13 S.E.2d 396; Burgess v. State Compensation Commissioner, 121 W.Va. 571, 5 S.E.2d 804; Moore v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 118 W.Va. 578, 191 S.E. 292; Rasmus v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 117 W.Va. 55, 184 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
34 cases
  • Pennington v. State Workmen's Compensation Com'r, No. 12934
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • July 7, 1970
    ...S.E.2d 626; Prince v. Compensation Commissioner, 123 W.Va. 67, 13 S.E.2d 396; Burgess v. State Compensation Commissioner, 121 W.Va. 571, 5 S.E.2d 804; Moore v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 118 W.Va. 578, 191 S.E. 292; Rasmus v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 117 W.Va. 55, 184 ......
  • State ex rel. McKenzie v. Smith, No. 29645.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • June 28, 2002
    ...Johnson v. State Workmen's Compensation Comm'r, 155 W.Va. 624, 186 S.E.2d 771 (1972); Burgess v. State Compensation Comm'r, 121 W.Va. 571, 5 S.E.2d 804 (1939); Martin v. State Compensation Comm'r, 111 W.Va. 420, 162 S.E. 486 (1932); Vandall v. State Compensation Comm'r, 110 W.Va. 61, 158 S.......
  • Walk v. State Compensation Com'r, No. 10214
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • April 14, 1950
    ...by him. See Blosser v. State Compensation Commissioner, W.Va., 51 S.E.2d 71; Burgess v. State Compensation Commissioner, 121 W.Va. 571, 5 S.E.2d 804; Gay Coal & Coke Company v. Workmen's Compensation Commissioner, 121 W.Va. 200, 2 S.E.2d [134 W.Va. 227] 265; Johnson v. State Compensatio......
  • Buckalew v. State Compensation Director, No. 12394
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of West Virginia
    • February 23, 1965
    ...S.E.2d 626; Prince v. Compensation Commissioner, 123 W.Va. 67, 13 S.E.2d 396; Burgess v. State Compensation Commissioner, 121 W.Va. 571, 5 S.E.2d 804; Moore v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 118 W.Va. 578, 191 S.E. 292; Rasmus v. Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board, 117 W.Va. 55, 184 ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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