Hargrove v. Titan Textile Co., No. 3846.

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtANDERSON, J.
Citation360 S.C. 276,599 S.E.2d 604
PartiesSandra HARGROVE, Employee, Claimant, v. TITAN TEXTILE CO. & Perdue Farms, Inc., Employer, and Kemper Insurance Co. & Perdue Farms, self-insured, Carrier, Defendants, Of whom Perdue Farms, Inc. is the, Appellant, and Sandra Hargrove, Titan Textile Co. and Kemper Insurance Co. are the, Respondents.
Decision Date12 July 2004
Docket NumberNo. 3846.

360 S.C. 276
599 S.E.2d 604

Sandra HARGROVE, Employee, Claimant,
v.
TITAN TEXTILE CO. & Perdue Farms, Inc., Employer, and
Kemper Insurance Co. & Perdue Farms, self-insured, Carrier, Defendants,
Of whom Perdue Farms, Inc. is the, Appellant, and
Sandra Hargrove, Titan Textile Co. and Kemper Insurance Co. are the, Respondents

No. 3846.

Court of Appeals of South Carolina.

Heard June 10, 2004.

Decided July 12, 2004.


360 S.C. 281
Finley B. Clarke, of Florence, for Appellant

Walter H. Barefoot, of Florence, for Respondents Titan Textile Co. and Kemper Insurance Co.

William L. Smith, II, of Columbia, for Respondent Sandra Hargrove.

ANDERSON, J.:

Perdue Farms, Inc. appeals a Circuit Court order affirming the award of Workers' Compensation benefits to Sandra Hargrove. Perdue argues the Circuit Court erred in ruling substantial evidence supported the finding by the Appellate Panel of the Workers' Compensation Commission that Hargrove aggravated or exacerbated a pre-existing condition during the course of her employment at Perdue. We affirm.

FACTUAL/PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Sandra Hargrove is a thirty-six-year-old mother of two who resides in Dillon, South Carolina. Hargrove began working at Titan Textile Company, d/b/a Dillon Yarn (Dillon Yarn), as an inspector/packer in December of 1997. Hargrove's job at Dillon Yarn required her to remove spools of yarn from manufacturing machines and visually inspect the spools before placing them on a metal pole protruding from a pushcart. Once the spool was on the cart, she would wrap it in plastic and then, using both hands, remove the spool from the pole and place it in a box located on the pushcart. Hargrove "put together" fifty or more boxes per day.

A single box can hold any number of spools depending on the size of the particular spool being manufactured. When the cart was full, Hargrove would push it to a conveyor belt where she would unload the boxes. Hargrove testified she

360 S.C. 282
made approximately forty or fifty trips per shift to the conveyor line. Her supervisor at Dillon Yarn, Effie Peele, estimated Hargrove would "handle somewhere between 600 and 800 tubes of yarn per day." During her time at Dillon Yarn, Hargrove's work schedule consisted of working eight-hour shifts, seven days in a row, having two or sometimes three days off, and then working seven more days

Hargrove stated she never experienced problems with either of her arms before working at Dillon Yarn. However, about six or seven months after her employment at Dillon Yarn began, Hargrove started experiencing problems with her left hand and arm, including swelling and numbness. She did not seek medical attention or notify her employer when these problems first started. She testified she would go home after work and soak her hand and arm and then "it would be all right" — "[t]he pain would go away" and the "swelling would go down." According to Hargrove, this swelling would occur "as much as once a month."

On March 1, 2000, Hargrove applied for a position working first shift at Perdue Farms, a chicken processing plant. On the medical history section of her application, Hargrove was asked if she had ever "had pain, numbness, swelling in [her] hands, wrists, arms." Hargrove indicated that in the past she had problems with "soreness" due to lifting boxes at Dillon Yarn. She further noted a history of pain and swelling in her hand and wrist.

Prior to accepting an application, Perdue's practice is to give the applicant a physical to see if the individual can physically perform the job. The physical consists of a number of tests specifically tailored to the demands of the position being sought. Hargrove was given tests to ascertain her grip strength on both the right and left hands, in addition to other tests on her hands including the Tinel, Phalen and Finklestein tests. These three tests check for numbness and tingling in the hands. The Finklestein test involves physically touching the median nerve to check for tingling.

The Occupational Health Nurse at Perdue, Mary Smith Sutherland, declared all tests on Hargrove were negative. Nurse Sutherland explained that Hargrove's testing indicated

360 S.C. 283
she had a strong grip in both hands and no problem taking any of the tests administered by Perdue

Hargrove's grip strength was important because she was applying for a position in the evisceration department. Nurse Sutherland stated that, in the evisceration department, employees have to pull skin off of the chickens that are being processed. She said that, although machines have already processed the insides of the chickens, employees might have to "scoop" the remaining entrails from the bird's insides. Nurse Sutherland professed the tasks assigned to an employee in the evisceration department involve repetitive work, "to some degree."

After Hargrove passed the physical, Perdue hired her to work in the evisceration department. Hargrove began her employment with Perdue on March 13, 2000.1 The first week consisted of orientation. Nurse Sutherland testified Hargrove worked 25.61 hours her first week. The first day of her employment consisted of classroom training for the entire day. On each remaining day of her first week, Hargrove spent four hours in the classroom and four hours on a training line. Both Nurse Sutherland and Hargrove testified that new employees could move more slowly on a training line than on a regular line.

Hargrove worked 23.18 hours her second week. Unlike the previous week, she did not have any classroom training and spent all of her time on a regular line, which processed 2,000 to 5,000 chickens each day. Hargrove stated that although she was on a regular line, she did not move as fast as other employees. She declared that her job during this week consisted of pulling the skin off of chickens and removing the remaining entrails from the processed chickens.

On or around March 16, 2000, having finished her shift at Perdue, Hargrove informed Peele, her supervisor at Dillon Yarn, that she was experiencing pain in her left wrist and arm. Hargrove did not tell Peele she believed the problems with her arm were work-related and Peele did not ask if they were. According to Peele, this was the first time Hargrove complained

360 S.C. 284
of pain in her hand and arm. Hargrove made similar complaints to Peele on at least two more occasions, although Peele did not keep a record of the complaints. Peele indicated Hargrove's "job was repetitive."

On March 23, 2000, Hargrove worked her shift at Perdue. She testified that, after performing her usual job on the evisceration line for a short time, the line went down and she was instructed to work in the box room. Her duties there consisted of retrieving the boxes others were assembling in the room. When her shift was over, Hargrove went to work her second-shift position at Dillon Yarn.

After clocking in, but before working, Hargrove noticed a funny feeling in the fingers on her left hand. Hargrove declared that nothing happened to her hand or arm between the time she left Perdue and the time she arrived at Dillon Yarn that would explain the problems she began having.

Hargrove stated she went to Dillon Yarn's nurse, Joyce Harmon, and "asked [Harmon] about the funny feeling in [her] fingers." Hargrove requested something for pain. The nurse gave Hargrove some Tylenol and then Hargrove went to work as usual. As she was performing her normal duties, Hargrove picked up a tube and it fell from her grasp. She testified that after she dropped the tube she looked down at her left hand and noticed it was swollen. Hargrove went to her supervisor and asked if she could be excused to go see a doctor. She was given permission and went to see her family physician, Dr. Michael Brown, the next day, March 24.

In his medical report, Dr. Brown noted: "Has tenderness over the extensor surface left hand and also at base of the thumb." Dr. Brown x-rayed the hand, placed it in a splint, and prescribed medication. He wrote Hargrove an excuse from work for a few days.

On March 27, 2000, Hargrove went to the medical department at Perdue to provide Dr. Brown's letter excusing her from work. Nurse Sutherland professed she did not ask Hargrove whether the injury was work-related because she did not feel Hargrove had worked at Perdue long enough to have experienced an injury there. Nevertheless, Nurse Sutherland

360 S.C. 285
reviewed Hargrove's file and sent her to Perdue's company physician, Dr. Phil Wallace.2

Dr. Wallace's report, dated March 27, 2000, indicates Hargrove's left wrist and hand showed "slight swelling." He diagnosed "probable mild tendonitis" and modified her activities for two weeks. The report demonstrates that Dr. Wallace "advised [Hargrove] she probably needs to pick one or the other job" because he did not "think she [could] physically handle both." Dr. Wallace noted, under a section in the report subtitled "ADD," that he "[t]alked with Perdue, felt this was not probably W/C, situation where she is using too much work in both." Regarding this particular notation, the Single Commissioner concluded:

The report does speak for itself. A.D.D., I believe, based on reading medical reports stands for addendum. Meaning this is after he talked with Perdue he added this.
....
Well, he doesn't say in the addendum [what his opinion is]. He says "talked with Perdue. Felt this was probably [not] W.C. situation where she's using too much work in both something. They both agreed to give her" — he doesn't say that this — whether this was his. It looks to me like, "talked with Perdue. Felt this was not probably W.C. like Perdue was saying it wasn't Workers' Comp.

Dr. Wallace issued excuses from work, which Hargrove took to both Dillon Yarn and Perdue.3 On Hargrove's visit to Dillon Yarn, Harmon, the plant nurse, gave her a long-term disability form to complete. Hargrove testified she completed the form and sent it to Dr. Wallace. Harmon stated she...

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113 practice notes
  • Hall v. United Rentals, Inc., No. 4166.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 23 Octubre 2006
    ...of the Workers' Compensation Commission. Lark v. Bi-Lo, Inc., 276 S.C. 130, 276 S.E.2d 304 (1981); Hargrove v. Titan Textile Co., 360 S.C. 276, 599 S.E.2d 604 (Ct.App.2004). Section 1-23-380(A)(5) instructs that a reviewing may not substitute its judgment for the judgment of the agency as t......
  • Thompson ex rel. Harvey v. Cisson Const., No. 4339.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 1 Febrero 2008
    ...365 S.C. 454, 467, 617 S.E.2d 369, 376 (Ct.App.2005) cert. dismissed as improvidently granted Aug. 2007; Hargrove v. Titan Textile Co., 360 S.C. 276, 288, 599 S.E.2d 604, 610 (Ct.App.2004). Pursuant to the APA, an appellate court's review is limited to deciding whether the Appellate Panel's......
  • Coastal Conservation v. Dept. of Health, No. 4450.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 23 Octubre 2008
    ...S.E.2d 876, 881 (Ct. App.2006) (citing Lark v. Bi-Lo, Inc., 276 S.C. 130, 135, 276 S.E.2d 304, 306 (1981); Hargrove v. Titan Textile Co., 360 S.C. 276, 288, 599 S.E.2d 604, 610 (Ct.App.2004)). Decisions of the ALC judge should not be overturned by the reviewing court unless they are unsuppo......
  • Hall v. Desert Aire, Inc., No. 4324.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 20 Diciembre 2007
    ...306 (1981); Gray v. Club Group, Ltd., 339 S.C. 173, 182, 528 S.E.2d 435, 440 (Ct. App.2000) (cent denied); Hargrove v. Titan Textile Co., 360 S.C. 276, 288, 599 S.E.2d 604, 610 (Ct.App.2004); Gibson v. Spartanburg Sch. Dist. No. 3, 338 S.C. 510, 516, 526 S.E.2d 725, 728 (Ct.App.2000). As pr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
113 cases
  • Hall v. United Rentals, Inc., No. 4166.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 23 Octubre 2006
    ...of the Workers' Compensation Commission. Lark v. Bi-Lo, Inc., 276 S.C. 130, 276 S.E.2d 304 (1981); Hargrove v. Titan Textile Co., 360 S.C. 276, 599 S.E.2d 604 (Ct.App.2004). Section 1-23-380(A)(5) instructs that a reviewing may not substitute its judgment for the judgment of the agency as t......
  • Thompson ex rel. Harvey v. Cisson Const., No. 4339.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 1 Febrero 2008
    ...365 S.C. 454, 467, 617 S.E.2d 369, 376 (Ct.App.2005) cert. dismissed as improvidently granted Aug. 2007; Hargrove v. Titan Textile Co., 360 S.C. 276, 288, 599 S.E.2d 604, 610 (Ct.App.2004). Pursuant to the APA, an appellate court's review is limited to deciding whether the Appellate Panel's......
  • Coastal Conservation v. Dept. of Health, No. 4450.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 23 Octubre 2008
    ...S.E.2d 876, 881 (Ct. App.2006) (citing Lark v. Bi-Lo, Inc., 276 S.C. 130, 135, 276 S.E.2d 304, 306 (1981); Hargrove v. Titan Textile Co., 360 S.C. 276, 288, 599 S.E.2d 604, 610 (Ct.App.2004)). Decisions of the ALC judge should not be overturned by the reviewing court unless they are unsuppo......
  • Hall v. Desert Aire, Inc., No. 4324.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • 20 Diciembre 2007
    ...306 (1981); Gray v. Club Group, Ltd., 339 S.C. 173, 182, 528 S.E.2d 435, 440 (Ct. App.2000) (cent denied); Hargrove v. Titan Textile Co., 360 S.C. 276, 288, 599 S.E.2d 604, 610 (Ct.App.2004); Gibson v. Spartanburg Sch. Dist. No. 3, 338 S.C. 510, 516, 526 S.E.2d 725, 728 (Ct.App.2000). As pr......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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