Workers’ Compensation - Standard of Substantial Evidence - Johnson v. Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc.

In Johnson v. Lowes Home Centers, Inc., [Ms. 2100623, Dec. 16, 2011] __ So. 3d __(Ala. Civ. App. 2011), the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals held that there “was not substantial evidence before the circuit court from which it could have determined that the [plaintiff’s] injury did not arise out of and in the course of his employment and that his injury was not, therefore, compensable under the Act.” The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals carefully examined medical records submitted by the employer that indicated the employee may have recounted different causes of his injury. However, the medical records were not the only evidence in the record. The Court determined that the medical records alone did not amount to “substantial evidence,” in light of “the relatively consistent accounts of the source of the injury in multiple medical documents from the emergency room, the workers’ compensation first report of injury, physical-therapy providers’ notations, and the consistent oral testimony, which includes the testimony of the employer’s witness, its corporate representative.” Because the evidence had to be examined as a whole, and because the medical records alone, upon which the circuit court made its determination, did not amount to “substantial evidence,” the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed.
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