Johnson v. Terre Du Lac, Inc., 56580

Decision Date01 May 1990
Docket NumberNo. 56580,56580
Citation788 S.W.2d 782
PartiesBilly R. JOHNSON, Movant/Claimant/Appellant, v. TERRE DU LAC, INC., Employer, and The Second Injury Fund of the State of Missouri, Respondent/Respondent.
CourtMissouri Court of Appeals

Douglas W. O'Neill, St. Louis, for movant/claimant/appellant.

Lichtenegger, Ellis, Payne & Kasten, John P. Lichtenegger, Jackson, for respondent/respondent.

KAROHL, Judge.

This is a workmen's compensation case. Billy R. Johnson, claimant, an employee of Terre Du Lac Inc., sustained a compensable back injury. The accident occurred on March 26, 1980. Treatment included a laminectomy and a two-level, bi-lateral posteriolateral fusion of the spine performed on October 28, 1980. Prior to the injury claimant was afflicted by degenerative joint disease of the spine and a flattening of the left femoral head associated with an old spilled Capital Ephiphysis with resultant shortening of the left femor. Claimant's left leg was more than one inch shorter than his right leg.

Claimant filed against the employer and the second injury fund. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found claimant's disability was permanent and partial. The second injury fund was found liable for 20% of the combined total of pre-existing disabilities and disabilities sustained in the accident of March 26, 1980. The Labor and Industrial Relations Commission affirmed the award. Claimant appealed to the circuit court which affirmed the decision of the commission. Section 287.490.1 RSMo 1978. The present appeal to this court involves only the claim against the second injury fund. Section 287.490.2 RSMo 1978.

The disputed issue is whether there was sufficient competent evidence from which the Industrial Relations Commission could find permanent partial disability. Claimant contends the evidence requires an award for permanent total disability. He also argues that the relevant facts are not in dispute and the issue may be resolved as a question of law, so that the decision of the commission is not binding on this court. Claimant contends he is permanently and totally disabled by reason of the back injury and multiple pre-existing disabilities. The term "total disability" as used in § 287.020.7 RSMo 1978 "shall mean inability to return to any employment and not merely inability to return to the employment in which the employee was engaged at the time of the accident."

Our review of a decision of the commission is limited to a determination of whether the award is supported by competent and substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Sample v. Monsanto Chemical Co., 664 S.W.2d 625, 626 (Mo.App.1984). We review the award of the commission. Id.

All of the evidence and legitimate inferences therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the awards. This court may not substitute its judgment for that of the Commission. The awards may be set aside only if there is no substantial and competent evidence to support them or if the findings of the Commission are clearly contrary to the overwhelming weight of the evidence. Conflicts in the evidence are for resolution by the Commission. (Citation omitted). This court must disregard any evidence which might support a finding different from that of the Commission, and that is true although a finding of the Commission to the contrary would have been supported by the evidence.

McCall v. McCall Amusement, Inc., 748 S.W.2d 827, 828 (Mo.App.1988), quoting Petersen v. Central Pattern Co., 562 S.W.2d 153, 155-156 (Mo.App.1978). "All claims for permanent total disability shall be determined in accordance with the facts." Section 287.200.2 RSMo 1978. "It is the exclusive province of the Commission to determine the matters of disability." Robinson v. Krey Packing Company, 467 S.W.2d 91, 95 (Mo.App.1971).

Within the noted scope of review we find the issue of degree of disability resulting from the back injury and pre-existing conditions, to be a question of fact resolved by the commission. On this issue the facts were in dispute. Claimant offered the testimony of Dr. Joseph H. Morrow, Jr., D.O. His testimony, if accepted by the commission, would support a finding that claimant was permanently and totally disabled after...

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5 cases
  • Hampton v. Big Boy Steel Erection
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • December 9, 2003
    ...792 S.W.2d 29 (Mo.App. 1990); Jacobs v. Ryder System/Complete Auto Transit, 789 S.W.2d 233 (Mo.App. 1990); Johnson v. Terre Du Lac, Inc., 788 S.W.2d 782 (Mo.App.1990); Dillon v. General Motors, 784 S.W.2d 915 (Mo.App. 1990); Stone on Behalf of Stone v. Heisten, 777 S.W.2d 664 (Mo.App.1989);......
  • Sifferman v. Sears, Roebuck and Co.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • August 1, 1995
    ...School Dist., 834 S.W.2d 789 (Mo.App.1992); Jones v. Jefferson City School Dist., 801 S.W.2d 486 (Mo.App.1990); Johnson v. Terre Du Lac, Inc., 788 S.W.2d 782 (Mo.App.1990); Doria v. Chemetron Corp., 784 S.W.2d 323 (Mo.App.1990); Sellers v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 776 S.W.2d 502 (Mo.App.......
  • Taylor v. Labor Pros L.L.C.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • January 8, 2013
    ...pre-existing conditions are questions of fact resolved by the Commission.” Carter, 913 S.W.2d at 343 (citing Johnson v. Terre Du Lac, Inc., 788 S.W.2d 782, 783 (Mo.App. E.D.1990)). The Commission may consider all the evidence, including the testimony of the employee, and draw all reasonable......
  • Lawrence v. Joplin R-VIII School Dist., R-VIII
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • June 25, 1992 reason of a combination of the injuries sustained in the accident and her pre-existing disabilities. See Johnson v. Terre Du Lac, Inc., 788 S.W.2d 782, 783-84 (Mo.App.1990). The fact that there was evidence that would support a finding of a higher degree of impairment does not require re......
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