State, Dept. of Corrections v. Tharpe, AE-264

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Citation413 So.2d 159
Decision Date29 April 1982
Docket NumberNo. AE-264,AE-264
PartiesSTATE of Florida, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, and Crawford & Company, Appellants, v. Elijah B. THARPE, Appellee.

Kurt Preston Hampp of Jacobs, Robbins, Gaynor, Hampp, Burns, Cole & Shasteen, P. A., St. Petersburg, for appellants.

Stevan T. Northcutt of Levine, Freedman, Hirsch & Levinson, P. A., Tampa, for appellee.


The employer/carrier appeal from a workers' compensation order, contending the deputy commissioner erred in:

(1) determining that medical expenses connected with the treatment of claimant's rectal bleeding were causally related to the compensable injury; and,

(2) combining claimant's noncovered, part-time employment wages with his covered employment wages to determine the average weekly wage for compensation.

We affirm the award of medical expenses related to claimant's rectal bleeding, but reverse the determination of claimant's average weekly wage.

Claimant sustained a compensable accident on November 13, 1979, when he was bitten by a wild animal while working for the employer, Department of Corrections. As a result of an adverse reaction to rabies shots, claimant developed post-antirabies encephalomyelopathy which caused the loss of use of his right leg, a speech impairment, and an impairment of his right arm.

At the time claimant was working for the employer at an average weekly wage of $250 per week, he had a part-time job as a caretaker on 20 acres of land earning an additional weekly wage of $100. The employer/carrier contended below that claimant's wages from his part-time employment should not be used to calculate his average weekly wage since the part-time employment constituted agricultural labor which is excluded from coverage under Chapter 440, Fla.Stat. Because of claimant's speech impairment, the only evidence on this issue was the testimony of claimant's wife who had been appointed claimant's guardian. She testified that claimant looked after the 20 acres for the landowner who used the property as a "weekend" retreat. She said it was not really a farm although the owner kept some cows, a horse, chickens, rabbits, and dogs on the property. She testified that the owner did not do any "farming" on the property and that the claimant was the only employee. In the appealed order, the deputy commissioner rejected the employer/carrier's contention that claimant's part-time caretaker's job was not covered employment under Chapter 440 because there was no evidence to support the contention.

Subsequent to the accident, claimant developed rectal bleeding while hospitalized. The employer/carrier contended that the rectal bleeding was not causally related to the claimant's injury and that they should therefore not be required to pay the medical bills related to treatment for the bleeding. Claimant's wife testified that claimant had never experienced rectal bleeding until several weeks after the accident. Dr. Saludo, claimant's treating physician, attributed the bleeding to the stress and anxiety claimant experienced as a result of his sudden overall disability. Dr. Geslani, treating neurologist, testified that he would defer to Dr. Saludo as the general treating physician or a psychiatrist regarding the cause of claimant's rectal bleeding. The deputy commissioner accepted Dr. Saludo's testimony and rejected Dr. Geslani's testimony, concluding that claimant's rectal bleeding and subsequently related medical bills were causally connected to the claimant's injury and resulting condition.

Since there is competent, substantial evidence to support the finding that claimant's rectal bleeding was causally related to the injury and resulting condition that he suffered from the accident, the award of medical expenses incurred for treatment of the bleeding is...

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3 cases
  • Iley v. Linzey, 87-312
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • September 15, 1988
    ...tender for railroad); Jay Livestock Market v. Hill, 247 So.2d 291 (Fla.1971) (farm worker); State, Dept. of Corrections v. Tharpe, 413 So.2d 159 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982) (employer with less than three employees); Randell, Inc. v. Chism, 404 So.2d 175 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981) (independent contractor);......
  • Putnam County School Bd. v. Debose, 95-2649
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 30, 1996
    ...the controlling precedent of Randell, Inc. v. Chism, 404 So.2d 175 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981) and State, Dep't of Corrections v. Tharpe, 413 So.2d 159 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982). In Randell, this court held that the claimant's "employment" by his girlfriend was excluded from coverage under chapter 440 by......
  • Tenneco, Inc. v. Montana, BQ-498
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 5, 1988
    ...the Workers' Compensation Act cannot be included in the AWW calculation. E.g. State of Florida, Department of Corrections v. Tharpe, 413 So.2d 159 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982) (employer with less than three employees); Randell, Inc. v. Chism, 404 So.2d 175 (Fla. 1st DCA 1981) (independent contractor......

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