Lockridge v. Santens of America, Inc., No. 3298.

CourtCourt of Appeals of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtSTILWELL.
Citation344 S.C. 511,544 S.E.2d 842
PartiesPerry W. LOCKRIDGE, Appellant, v. SANTENS OF AMERICA, INC., Employer and South Carolina Chamber Fund/Sedgwick James of the Carolinas, Carrier, Respondents.
Docket NumberNo. 3298.
Decision Date20 February 2001

344 S.C. 511
544 S.E.2d 842

Perry W. LOCKRIDGE, Appellant,
v.
SANTENS OF AMERICA, INC., Employer and South Carolina Chamber Fund/Sedgwick James of the Carolinas, Carrier, Respondents

No. 3298.

Court of Appeals of South Carolina.

Heard October 12, 2000.

Decided February 20, 2001.

Rehearing Denied April 23, 2001.


344 S.C. 513
Richard E. Thompson, Jr., of Thompson & King, of Anderson, for appellant

Wm. Douglas Gray and Reginald M. Gay, both of Watkins, Vandiver, Kirven, Gable & Gray, of Anderson, for respondents.

STILWELL, Judge:

In a decision affirmed by the workers' compensation commission and the circuit court, the single commissioner found Perry W. Lockridge was not entitled to benefits, concluding his heart attack was not an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment. Lockridge appeals. We affirm.

BACKGROUND

In February 1994, Santens of America, a manufacturer of towels, hired Lockridge as a lead man on the weekend shift. A lead man is responsible for mixing dyes and chemicals and

344 S.C. 514
operating the dye machine. Operating the dye machine requires the lead man to lift buckets and bags weighing fifty to fifty-five pounds each

In November 1994, Lockridge experienced heart problems requiring angioplasty. By December 1994, Lockridge had returned to work as a lead man on the weekend shift. Between January and June of 1995, the plant closed eleven weeks due to a slowdown in production. In July 1995, Lockridge was promoted to department head of the dyehouse, a weekday job that also required him to report to work on Saturday. In this position, Lockridge supervised the lead men, performed inventory counts, and checked the dye colors. Lockridge's job essentially consisted of office work, and he no longer lifted buckets and bags of chemicals.

On October 14, 1995, Lockridge planned to go to the plant for a shift change and to check the dye. The lead man scheduled for the 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. shift could not work, and Lockridge was unable to get a replacement lead man to report until 3:00 p.m. Lockridge had decided to close down the dyeing operation between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., but the plant manager persuaded Lockridge to fill in as the lead man during that time frame.

Lockridge worked the four hour shift for the dyeing operation utilizing four vats and two dryers. When Lockridge worked as a lead man prior to his promotion, he operated only three vats and one dryer. Lockridge lifted between 1600 and 3000 pounds of chemicals during the shift.

As he worked, Lockridge became extremely tired, began sweating, and developed pain in his neck and jaw. He also experienced shortness of breath and soreness between his shoulders. Although Lockridge originally intended to stay at the plant until 5:00 p.m., the onset of these symptoms caused him to return home as soon as the replacement lead man arrived at 3:00 p.m.

Throughout the evening, Lockridge continued to experience symptoms and eventually was transported to the emergency room at Anderson Area Medical Center where he was diagnosed as having sustained a heart attack. Lockridge was then transferred to Greenville Memorial Hospital where he underwent

344 S.C. 515
quadruple bypass heart surgery. Lockridge was fiftyeight years old at the time of the heart attack

Following his operation, Lockridge returned to work at Santens in various capacities but was terminated in December 1996 for reasons not involved here and has not been employed since.

In denying Lockridge's claim, the single commissioner concluded he did not suffer an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of employment. Moreover, the commissioner found Lockridge's heart attack was not caused or induced by unexpected strain or overexertion in the performance of his job duties or by unusual or extraordinary conditions in his employment on October 14, 1995. The full commission determined that all of the single commissioner's findings of fact and rulings of law were correct as stated, affirmed the hearing commissioner, and adopted his decision as its own. The circuit court affirmed the full commission.

SCOPE OF REVIEW

The Administrative Procedures Act establishes the standard of review for decisions by the South Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission. Lark v. Bi-Lo, Inc., 276 S.C. 130, 135, 276 S.E.2d 304, 306 (1981). Any review of the commission's factual findings is governed by the substantial evidence standard. Smith v. Squires Timber Co., 311 S.C. 321, 325, 428 S.E.2d 878, 880 (1993). The "possibility of drawing two inconsistent conclusions from the evidence does not prevent an administrative agency's finding from being supported by substantial evidence." Palmetto Alliance, Inc. v. South Carolina Pub. Serv. Comm'n, 282 S.C. 430, 432, 319 S.E.2d 695, 696 (1984). Substantial evidence is evidence that, in viewing the record as a whole, would allow reasonable minds to reach the same conclusion that the full commission reached. Miller v. State Roofing Co., 312 S.C. 452, 454, 441 S.E.2d 323, 324-25 (1994); Gray v. Club Group, Ltd., 339 S.C. 173, 183, 528 S.E.2d 435, 440 (Ct.App.2000).

Furthermore, neither this court nor the circuit court may substitute its judgment for that of the agency as to the weight of the evidence on questions of fact but may reverse if the decision is affected by an error of law. See S.C.Code Ann.

344 S.C. 516
§ 1-23-380(A)(6) (Supp.2000); Gibson v. Florence Country Club, 282 S.C. 384, 386, 318 S.E.2d 365, 367 (1984); Gibson v. Spartanburg Sch. Dist. No. 3, 338 S.C. 510, 516, 526 S.E.2d 725, 728 (Ct.App.2000). See also Oglesby v. Greenville YWCA, 250 S.C. 490, 494, 158 S.E.2d 907, 909 (1968) ("Under our workmen's compensation law the Commission sits in lieu of a jury and neither the Circuit Court nor this Court may interfere with its findings of fact unless there is an absence of evidence to sustain the findings of the Commission.").

DISCUSSION

I. Expert Medical Testimony

A. Testimony of Dr. Gaucher

Lockridge argues the commission erred by misconstruing Dr. Jay Gaucher's deposition testimony as to the cause of Lockridge's heart attack. We disagree.

Doctor Gaucher, a cardiologist, first treated Lockridge for the heart attack on October 18, 1995. Doctor Gaucher testified that, according to a cardiac catheterization report on Lockridge when he was treated at Anderson Area Medical Center, Lockridge had multi-vessel heart disease with total occlusion of his left anterior descending artery and a ninetynine percent blockage in his right coronary artery with angiographic evidence of ruptured plaque in that artery. Doctor Gaucher explained that plaque is cholesterol and when it ruptures or cracks, the plaque causes clots to form in the artery which, in turn, gives rise to heart attacks. Doctor Gaucher testified the plaque rupture likely occurred at the time of the onset of Lockridge's symptoms.

During direct examination regarding causation, Dr. Gaucher testified that the direct cause of Lockridge's heart attack was plaque rupture in the right coronary artery. In response to the inquiry if he had an opinion whether the plaque rupture was induced or caused by unexpected strain or overexertion in Lockridge's job, Dr. Gaucher answered:

Well, I don't—All I
...

To continue reading

Request your trial
56 practice notes
  • Hall v. United Rentals, Inc., No. 4166.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 23, 2006
    ...520, 593 S.E.2d 491 (Ct.App.2004); Corbin v. Kohler Co., 351 S.C. 613, 571 S.E.2d 92 (Ct.App.2002); see Lockridge v. Santens of Am., Inc., 344 S.C. 511, 515, 544 S.E.2d 842, 844 (Ct.App.2001) ("Any review of the commission's factual findings is governed by the substantial evidence standard.......
  • Thompson ex rel. Harvey v. Cisson Const., No. 4339.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 1, 2008
    ...494 (Ct.App.2004); Corbin v. Kohler Co., 351 S.C. 613, 617, 571 S.E.2d 92, 94-95 (Ct. App.2002); Lockridge v. Santens of America, Inc., 344 S.C. 511, 515, 544 S.E.2d 842, 844 (Ct.App.2001). The Appellate Panel's decision must be affirmed if supported by substantial evidence in the record. S......
  • Hall v. Desert Aire, Inc., No. 4324.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 20, 2007
    ...review of the Appellate Panel's factual findings is governed by the substantial evidence standard." Lockridge v. Santens of Am., Inc., 344 S.C. 511, 515, 544 S.E.2d 842, 844 (Ct.App.2001). The Appellate Panel's decision must be affirmed if supported by substantial evidence in the record. Sh......
  • Houston v. Deloach & Deloach, No. 4408.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 10, 2008
    ...494 (Ct.App.2004); Corbin v. Kohler Co., 351 S.C. 613, 617, 571 S.E.2d 92, 94-95 (Ct. App.2002); Lockridge v. Santens of America, Inc., 344 S.C. 511, 515, 544 S.E.2d 842, 844 (Ct.App.2001). The appellate panel's decision must be affirmed if supported by substantial evidence in the record. S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
56 cases
  • Hall v. United Rentals, Inc., No. 4166.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • October 23, 2006
    ...520, 593 S.E.2d 491 (Ct.App.2004); Corbin v. Kohler Co., 351 S.C. 613, 571 S.E.2d 92 (Ct.App.2002); see Lockridge v. Santens of Am., Inc., 344 S.C. 511, 515, 544 S.E.2d 842, 844 (Ct.App.2001) ("Any review of the commission's factual findings is governed by the substantial evidence standard.......
  • Thompson ex rel. Harvey v. Cisson Const., No. 4339.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • February 1, 2008
    ...494 (Ct.App.2004); Corbin v. Kohler Co., 351 S.C. 613, 617, 571 S.E.2d 92, 94-95 (Ct. App.2002); Lockridge v. Santens of America, Inc., 344 S.C. 511, 515, 544 S.E.2d 842, 844 (Ct.App.2001). The Appellate Panel's decision must be affirmed if supported by substantial evidence in the record. S......
  • Hall v. Desert Aire, Inc., No. 4324.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • December 20, 2007
    ...review of the Appellate Panel's factual findings is governed by the substantial evidence standard." Lockridge v. Santens of Am., Inc., 344 S.C. 511, 515, 544 S.E.2d 842, 844 (Ct.App.2001). The Appellate Panel's decision must be affirmed if supported by substantial evidence in the record. Sh......
  • Houston v. Deloach & Deloach, No. 4408.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of South Carolina
    • June 10, 2008
    ...494 (Ct.App.2004); Corbin v. Kohler Co., 351 S.C. 613, 617, 571 S.E.2d 92, 94-95 (Ct. App.2002); Lockridge v. Santens of America, Inc., 344 S.C. 511, 515, 544 S.E.2d 842, 844 (Ct.App.2001). The appellate panel's decision must be affirmed if supported by substantial evidence in the record. S......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT