White v. Carolina Power & Light Co.

Decision Date02 June 1949
Docket Number16226.
Citation53 S.E.2d 872,215 S.C. 25
PartiesWHITE v. CAROLINA POWER & LIGHT CO.
CourtSouth Carolina Supreme Court

A. Y. Arledge, Raleigh, N. C., Willcox, Hardee Houck & Palmer, Florence, for appellant.

George D. Levy and A. S. Merrimon, Sumter, for respondent.

TAYLOR Justice.

Respondent contends that Johnnie White, an employee of the appellant received an injury on January 13, 1947, which arose out of and in the course of his employment with the Carolina Power and Light Company, and that Johnnie White died as a result of such injury April 21, 1947.

The said Carolina Power & Light Company operated under the Workmen's Compensation Act, Code 1942, Sec. 7035-1 et seq. Hearings were held before Commissioner W. Raymond Johnson, who found that deceased sustained the alleged injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment which resulted in his death and made an award in favor of the plaintiff, which was sustained by the whole commission.

Appellant then appealed to the Court of Common Pleas of Florence County which resulted in an order dated August 21, 1948, overruling all exceptions and confirming the award.

Appellant now comes to this court upon exceptions which, in our opinion raised the sole question of whether or not the Circuit Judge committed error in holding that there was competent evidence to sustain the findings of the single commissioner and the whole commission, that the deceased suffered an accident arising out of and in the course of his employment which resulted in his death.

'In reviewing this case on appeal, this Court is of course cognizant of the well founded rule of law that the Industrial Commission being the fact-finding body and this Court and the Circuit Court both being appellate Courts in workmen's compensation matters, this and the Circuit Courts can only review the facts to determine whether or not there is any competent evidence to support the findings of the fact-finding body. If there is, the Courts are without power to pass upon the force and effect of such evidence. An award may of course be reversed if there is an absence of any competent evidence to support it, but in Workmen's Compensation cases the Courts are not the triers of facts. If the facts proved are capable as a matter of law of sustaining the inferences of fact drawn from them by the Industrial Commission its findings are conclusive in the absence of fraud and neither this Court nor the Court of Common Pleas is at liberty to interfere with them. Anderson v. Campbell Tile Co., 202 S.C. 54, 24 S.E.2d 104; Crawford et al. v. Town of Winnsboro et al., 205 S.C. 72, 30 S.E.2d 841; Lanford v. Clinton Cotton Mills, 204 S.C. 423, 30 S.E.2d 36; Strawhorn v. J. A. Chapman Const. Co., 202 S.C. 43, 24 S.E.2d 116; Cokeley v. Robert Lee, Inc., 197 S.C. 157, 14 S.E.2d 889; Shehane v. Springs Cotton Mills, 206 S.C. 334, 34 S.E.2d 180.' Green v. Grinnell Co., 213 S.C. 116, 48 S.E.2d 644, 647.

At the time of the injury deceased had been working for the appellant for approximately one and a half years, doing the same type of heavy work he was engaged in when the injury occurred. All evidence pointed to him being strong and able-bodied with the exception that on two occasions he had complained to the foreman of having pains in the stomach. On the occasion in question deceased and a number of men were loading poles thirty-five feet long and weighing from seven to eight hundred pounds each, onto appellant's truck or trailer on their premises at Florence, S. C., when one of the poles slipped and most of its weight was thrown on the deceased either striking him in the side or causing him to suffer a severe strain by additional weight which he was forced to bear. He continued on the job the rest of that day although in pain but was unable to return to work afterwards.

He was treated in his home for several days by Dr. G. F. Reeves, who on January 18, 1947, had him admitted to the McLeod Infirmary at Florence, S. C., where he was treated by Dr. C. A. Kinney. He was dismissed from the hospital April 11, for the purpose of returning home. He then went to the home of relatives in Sumter, S. C., where he was treated by Dr. H. A. Davis who advised immediate hospitalization and caused him to be placed in the Tuomey Hospital in Sumter. Dr. Ragsdale Hewitt being then called into the case continued to treat the patient along with Dr. Davis until he died April 21, 1947.

Appellant filed its written report of the injury with the South Carolina Industrial Commission as required by the Workmen's Compensation Act in which it stated that deceased at the time of suffering the injury was 'lifting pole onto trailer; pole started rolling and White took most of the load.' It further stated that White could not have prevented the accident under the conditions. Appellant further admitted that White was disabled by the injury and that they entered into an agreement with him for temporary total disability. All medical and hospital bills were paid by the appellant.

There is some evidence that the pole struck the deceased in the side and some that he suffered a severe strain, however, this is of no consequence as will be hereafter seen by reference to the testimony.

A post mortem was performed by Dr. Hewitt and Dr. Davis, four to six hours after death. Dr. Hewitt testified that the autopsy disclosed that deceased had an ulcer of the cecum, the first part of the large intestine or colon, which had ruptured causing peritonitis and infection which drained into the liver, resulting in multiple abscesses of the liver ranging in size from the size of a man's fist to the size of an egg, which produced death; that either a severe strain or blow would have caused the rupture of the ulcer and the conditions found, and he expressed the opinion that the ulcer pre-existed and that if the deceased was hit with the pole or sustained a strain that the blow or strain caused the rupture.

Dr. Davis testified that the liver condition found to exist resulted from the rupture of the ulcer; that either a blow in the side or a severe strain would have caused the rupture, and it was his opinion that if the ulcer previously existed and the deceased sustained a blow to the abdomen or a severe strain it caused the rupture and that the rupture occurred at that time.

Dr. Kinney who began treating the deceased shortly after the injury testified that deceased suffered from a strain with the rupture of a blood vessel causing a large hematoma--a collection of blood under the skin, and that such injury could have caused the liver to abscess enough to produce death.

Dr Reeves who also treated him immediately after the...

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1 cases
  • Sligh v. Newberry Elec. Co-op.
    • United States
    • South Carolina Supreme Court
    • April 3, 1950
    ... ... et al. No. 16333. Supreme Court of South Carolina. April 3, 1950 ... [58 S.E.2d 676] ...         [216 S.C ... his employment was assisting in the lifting of an electric ... power transformer from a truck. And it is alleged in behalf ... of the claimant ... White v ... Carolina Power & Light Co., 215 S.C. 25, 53 S.E.2d 872, ... 875, ... ...

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