Hardy v. City of Tarpon Springs

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Florida
Citation81 So.2d 503
PartiesHampton HARDY, Petitioner, v. CITY OF TARPON SPRINGS, St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Company, and The FloridaIndustrial Commission, Respondents.
Decision Date22 June 1955

Page 503

81 So.2d 503
Hampton HARDY, Petitioner,
CITY OF TARPON SPRINGS, St. Paul Mercury Indemnity Company, and The FloridaIndustrial Commission, Respondents.
Supreme Court of Florida, En Banc.
June 22, 1955.

Page 504

Finch & Mosley, Clearwater, for petitioner.

Barton & Enwright, Robert M. Barton, St. Petersburg, Burnis T. Coleman and Rodney Durrance, Tallahassee, for respondents.

DREW, Chief Justice.

On September 22, 1952, the claimant received an injury by accident arising out of

Page 505

and in the course of his employment when he struck his right foot against the metal edge of a machine. No abrasion or open wound was caused by this blow. In April, 1953, claimant's right foot was amputated because of a gangrenous condition therein. Claimant sought compensation for the loss of the foot asserting that the amputation was the proximate result of the accident of September, 1952. The Deputy Commissioner denied this claim and his order was affirmed by the Full Commission. The claimant seeks review of this latter order.

At the threshold we are confronted with a serious procedural impediment because the order of the Deputy Commissioner denying compensation fails to set out what facts were relied upon to determine the case. This deficiency goes to the very heart of the procedure for the review of compensation orders and impels us to consider and summarize what is necessary in that respect.

The Deputy Commissioner is required by statute, in his order allowing or rejecting a claim, to set forth 'a statement of the findings of fact and other matters pertinent to the questions at issue.' (Italics added.) Section 440.25(3)(c), F.S.1953, F.S.A. These findings of fact when supported by competent, substantial evidence cannot be upset. United States Casualty Co. v. Maryland Casualty Co., Fla.1951, 55 So.2d 741.

The Full Commission, in reviewing an order of a Deputy Commissioner, has the duty to determine whether his findings of fact are supported by the evidence and to determine whether the order based thereon is correct under the law. See Naranja Rock Co., Inc., v. Dawal Farms, Inc., Fla.1954, 74 So.2d 282.

This Court upon review of a final order of the Full Commission has the duty of determining whether the Commission properly fulfilled its function with reference to the evidence to support the findings and the law applied to the findings. See Wilson v. McCoy Mfg. Co., Fla.1954, 69 So.2d 659.

Thus, under our procedure, it is the Deputy Commissioner who is vested with the power and charged with the duty of weighing and considering the evidence and making reasonable deductions therefrom and of translating them into express findings of fact which constitute the foundation on which his decision must rest. The function of the reviewing authorities is to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support the findings of fact and whether the law has been properly applied thereto by the Deputy Commissioner.

Where there is a failure by the Deputy Commissioner to make adequate findings of fact in support of his decision, the order, upon review, ordinarily must be reversed and the cause remanded for compliance with the statutory requirements, either with or without a new hearing of the parties as the circumstances may require. This view is the accepted rule. See 58 Am.Jur. 879, Section 476.

There is obvious necessity for this rule because in the usual case there can be no intelligent review of the result in the absence of findings of fact. Thus in a case where there is competent, substantial evidence on both sides on facts material to the result, there will always be competent, substantial evidence to support the decision whether it be one in favor of an award or one in rejection of the claim. For this reason, if the Deputy Commissioner fails to set out the facts relied upon to sustain the result in such cases, it is always impossible upon review of his decisions to correct or even detect an error of the Deputy Commissioner in the event that he has reached the result through an erroneous application of the law or through an erroneous finding of facts. There can be no determination of whether the facts relied upon were properly supported by competent evidence, absent a statement of these facts. Clearly, a failure to hold the Deputy Commissioner to his statutory duty of making findings of fact leaves open a

Page 506

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71 cases
  • Chavarria v. Selugal Clothing, Inc., 1D00-3467.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • February 3, 2003
    ...matters and make specific findings of fact to show clearly the basis for the award. Id. at 760.2 In Hardy v. City of Tarpon Springs, 81 So.2d 503 (Fla.1955), the court relied upon the same statute, which, as noted, required a statement of the findings of fact and other matters pertinent to ......
  • Anderson v. Anderson, 91-3117
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • May 7, 1993
    ...adequate findings it may be with or without further hearing as the circumstances require. Hardy v. City of Tarpon Springs, Fla. [1955], 81 So.2d 503; Moses v. R.H. Wright, et al., Fla. [1956], 90 So.2d 330; Andrews v. C.B.S. Division [,Maule Industries (Fla.1960), 118 So.2d 206], supra. The......
  • Scholastic Systems, Inc. v. LeLoup, 45320
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • October 24, 1974
    ...we feel compelled to reevaluate our prior decisions of Ball v. Mann, supra; (75 So.2d 758 (Fla.)) Hardy v. City of Tarpon Springs, supra, (81 So.2d 503, (Fla.)) and Brown v. Griffin, supra (229 So.2d 225 (Fla.)) respecting requirements imposed upon the Judge of Industrial Claims in making h......
  • Young v. Dreamland Bedding Co., 31045
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • September 27, 1961
    ...J., and THOMAS and THORNAL, JJ., concur. O'CONNELL, J., agrees to conclusion. --------------- 1 Hardy v. City of Tarpon Springs, Fla.1955, 81 So.2d 503, 505; Boyd v. Florida Mattress Factory, Inc., Fla.1961, 128 So.2d 2 Section 440.15(3): '(c) Hand lost, one hundred and seventy-five weeks' ......
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