H & A Frank's Const., Inc. v. Mendoza

Citation582 So.2d 780
Decision Date17 July 1991
Docket NumberNo. 90-3013,90-3013
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals
PartiesH & A FRANK'S CONSTRUCTION, INC. and CNA Ins. Co., Appellants, v. Antonia MENDOZA, Appellee. 582 So.2d 780, 16 Fla. L. Week. D1860

Daniel J. DeMay of Adams, Coogler, Watson & Merkel, West Palm Beach; and Marjorie Gadarian Graham, West Palm Beach, for appellants.

Jorge Lagarga of Wagner, Nugent, Johnson, Roth, Romano, Eriksen & Kupfer, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

KAHN, Judge.

The employer/carrier appeal from a final order of the Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) awarding claimant temporary total disability (TTD). The issue before us is whether the JCC erred in accepting the deposition testimony of chiropractor Dr. Dexter DiMarco over the deposition testimony of Dr. Argentina Brito, claimant's general physician; Dr. Jeffrey Katzell, the orthopedic surgeon to whom her attorney referred claimant; Dr. Raymond Tronzo, the orthopedic surgeon whom employer/carrier provided when claimant wanted a second opinion; and chiropractor Joseph Pollak, who performed an independent medical examination on claimant. We hold that on the state of this record the JCC erred in accepting the testimony of Dr. DiMarco over the other doctors based on Yeargin Construction Co. v. Hutchinson, 547 So.2d 1269 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989). In Yeargin, this court held that the JCC erred in accepting the testimony of a chiropractor over that of three orthopedic surgeons without articulating the reasons for doing so in his order where the reasons were not apparent from the record.

A JCC has the discretion to determine credibility, resolve conflicts in evidence, and accept the testimony of one physician over that of several others. Id.; S and S Stove Repair, Inc. v. Dumas, 465 So.2d 644 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985); Jefferson Stores, Inc. v. Rosenfeld, 386 So.2d 865 (Fla. 1st DCA 1980). His discretion, however, is not unbridled. Although a JCC generally does not need to explain when he accepts the testimony of one doctor and rejects the testimony of another, he must state his reasons when: (1) the reason for the finding in the order is not apparent from the record; or (2) it appears that the JCC has overlooked or ignored evidence in the record. Buro v. Dino's Southland Meats, 354 So.2d 874 (Fla.1978); Curry v. Miami Dolphins, Ltd, 522 So.2d 1010 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988); South v. Heartland Employment & Training Administration, 527 So.2d 270 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988).

In the instant case, it is obvious from the order that the JCC did not overlook or ignore the deposition testimony of Dr. Brito, Dr. Katzell, Dr. Tronzo and Dr. Pollak; however, the JCC's reasons for accepting Dr. DiMarco's testimony over that of the other doctors are not apparent from the record. According to the order, the JCC accepted Dr. DiMarco's testimony and rejected the other doctors, based on: (1) the difference in specialities, (2) the length of treatment, and (3) DiMarco's testimony that claimant continued to have physical complaints. The reasons articulated do not logically support the JCC's acceptance of Chiropractor DiMarco's testimony over that of the other doctors.

When the medical evidence is presented by deposition, this court is not in an inferior position to that of the JCC in interpreting deposition evidence. Skip's Shoes and Western Boots v. Green, 578 So.2d 439, 441 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991); Hidden Harbor Boatworks v. Williams, 566 So.2d 595, 596 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990); Thomas v. Salvation Army, 562 So.2d 746, 749 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990); Severini v. Pan American Beauty School, Inc., 557 So.2d 896, 897 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990); McCabe v. Bechtel Power Corp., 510 So.2d 1056 (Fla. 1st DCA 1987); Metropolitan Transit Authority v. Bradshaw, 478 So.2d 115, 116-117 (Fla. 1st DCA 1985).

The JCC did not indicate nor can we glean from the record in what way the doctor's specialty as a chiropractor puts him in a better position than the orthopedic surgeons to diagnose or treat claimant. 1 Moreover, the chiropractor had been licensed only three years while the orthopedic surgeons, the family practitioner and the chiropractor who performed an independent medical examination, all had...

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16 cases
  • Chavarria v. Selugal Clothing, Inc.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • February 3, 2003
    ...the other doctors"); Yeargin Constr. Co. v. Hutchinson, 547 So.2d 1269, 1271 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989) (same); H & A Frank's Constr. Co. v. Mendoza, 582 So.2d 780, 781-82 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991) 6. An appellate body's authority to apply the de novo standard has long been recognized in a wide variety ......
  • Stacy v. Venice Isles Mobile Home Park, 92-2328
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 27, 1994
    ...it appears the JCC overlooked or ignored evidence in the record. Days Inn v. Thomas, 623 So.2d at 532; H & A Franks Construction, Inc. v. Mendoza, 582 So.2d 780 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991); Curry v. Miami Dolphins, Ltd., 522 So.2d 1010 (Fla. 1st DCA 1988). The reasons provided by the JCC must be lo......
  • Holiday Foliage v. Anderson
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 7, 1994
    ...testimony. McCandless v. M.M. Parrish Construction, 449 So.2d 830, 833 (Fla. 1st DCA 1984). See also H & A Frank's Construction v. Mendoza, 582 So.2d 780, 782 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991). Specifically, the JCC, not a doctor, "is the finder and adjudicator of facts, including medical facts, subject ......
  • Shaw v. Publix Supermarkets, Inc.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 1, 1992
    ...is by deposition only, we are not in a position inferior to that of the JCC to interpret the record. H & A Frank's Constr., Inc. v. Mendoza, 582 So.2d 780, 781-82 (Fla. 1st DCA1991). E/C concede Dr. Borrero's determination of Claimant's ability to work was crucial to the JCC's finding, yet ......
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