Lail v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., GEORGIA-PACIFIC

Decision Date26 March 1985
Docket NumberGEORGIA-PACIFIC,No. 22288,22288
Citation285 S.C. 234,328 S.E.2d 911
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court
PartiesJohn F. LAIL, Respondent, v.CORPORATION, Appellant. . Heard

Barnwell, Whaley, Stevenson & Patterson, Charleston, for appellant.

Steinberg, Levkoff, Spitz & Goldberg, Charleston, for respondent.

HARWELL, Justice:

The respondent John F. Lail commenced this workers' compensation action against the appellant Georgia-Pacific Corporation. The single commissioner awarded the claimant compensation for 50% loss of use of the hand and a lump sum payment for disfigurement of his right elbow. The full commission and circuit court affirmed. We reverse in part and affirm in part.

Under our scope of review, the findings of the Commission will not be set aside if they are supported by substantial evidence and not controlled by legal error. Lark v. Bi-Lo, Inc., 276 S.C. 130, 276 S.E.2d 304 (1981).

The claimant was injured in an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. His thumb was severed from his hand by a machine. He underwent a series of three operations. In the first, his thumb was reattached to his hand. In the second, a nerve was taken from his leg and grafted to his thumb. However, his thumb still lacked sensation. A third operation was performed in which skin with a nerve and artery was transferred from his ring finger to his thumb. Skin from the right elbow was removed to cover the defect on the ring finger. The claimant can now sense hot and cold with his thumb but has little dexterity. Dr. Hay, the surgeon, rated the thumb at 60% impaired and the ring finger at 20%. He referred to the AMA Guide and concluded that the hand was 26% impaired. Dr. Brilliant, the physician later retained by the claimant, found a total loss of use of the thumb and a 5% loss of use of the ring finger. He concluded that a 52% loss of use of the hand had resulted.

The appellant contends that the Commissioner erred as a matter of law in awarding the claimant compensation for loss of use of the hand rather than the thumb and third finger. We agree. When a thumb is severed from the hand and surgically reattached with limited sensory and motor functions, the use of the hand is necessarily affected. However, here, the medical testimony established that the claimant suffered no functional impairment to any part of his hand other than the thumb and finger. We hold that the award of compensation for the hand contravenes the...

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12 cases
  • Mohasco Corp., Dixiana Mill Div. v. Rising
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • January 27, 1986
    ...its finding that each claimant suffers from an occupational disease within the meaning of Section 42-11-10. Cf. Lail v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 285 S.C. 234, 328 S.E.2d 911 (1985) (Industrial Commission's findings will not be set aside if supported by substantial evidence and not controlled ......
  • Palm v. General Painting Co., Inc.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • April 19, 1988
    ...and substantial evidence on the whole record." CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA § 1-23-380(g)(3) and (5) (1976); Lail v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 285 S.C. 234, 328 S.E.2d 911 (1985); Hanks v. Blair Mills, Inc., 286 S.C. 378, 335 S.E.2d 91 A child born in lawful wedlock is presumed to be legitim......
  • Cropf v. Pantry, Inc.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • March 24, 1986
    ...set aside by a court if the finding is supported by substantial evidence and is not controlled by legal error. Lail v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 285 S.C. 234, 328 S.E.2d 911 (1985); Brownlee v. Wetterau Food Services, 288 S.C. 82, 339 S.E.2d 694 (Ct.App.1986). Here, substantial evidence suppor......
  • Hutson v. S.C. State Ports Auth.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • September 8, 2010
    ...expressed its approval of awarding compensation for multiple scheduled losses under section 42-9-30. See Lail v. Georgia-Pacific Corp. 285 S.C. 234, 236, 328 S.E.2d 911, 912 (1985) (reversing an award for loss of use of the hand and remanding the matter to the commission for factual finding......
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