[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
from Tuscaloosa Circuit Court (CV-15-901273).
Jeffrey C. Smith and Kimberly Jones of Rosen Harwood, P.A.,
Tuscaloosa, for appellant.
Curry Robertson of Blume & Blume Attorneys at Law, P.C.,
Northport, for appellee.
Beville was employed as a correctional officer at the
Tuscaloosa County jail. On December 23, 2014, Beville slipped
and fell, injuring her left wrist. After conservative
treatments failed, Beville underwent surgery and physical
therapy to address her injury. In November 2015, Beville sued
Tuscaloosa County ("the county") in the Tuscaloosa
Circuit Court ("the trial court"), seeking
workers' compensation benefits. After a trial held on
June 28, 2017, the trial court entered a
judgment determining that Beville had
"suffered a 60% injury to her left upper extremity"
and awarding Beville $ 29,304 in benefits. The county
review of workers' compensation judgments is well
settled. "In reviewing pure findings of fact, the
finding of the circuit court shall not be reversed if that
finding is supported by substantial evidence." Ala. Code
1975, § 25-5-81(e)(2). Our supreme court has explained
that a trial court's finding of fact is supported by
substantial evidence if it is "supported by `evidence of
such weight and quality that fair-minded persons in the
exercise of impartial judgment can reasonably infer the
existence of the fact sought to be proved.'" Ex
parte Trinity Indus., Inc., 680 So.2d 262');">680 So.2d 262, 269 (Ala.
1996) (quoting West v. Founders Life Assurance Co. of
Florida, 547 So.2d 870, 871 (Ala. 1989)); see
also Ala. Code 1975, § 12-21-12(d). In completing
our review, this court "will view the facts in the light
most favorable to the findings of the trial court."
Whitsett v. BAMSI, Inc., 652 So.2d 287, 290 (Ala.
Civ. App. 1994), overruled on other grounds, Ex parte
Trinity Indus., 680 So.2d at 269. We review legal issues
without a presumption of correctness. See Ala. Code
1975, § 25-5-81(e)(1).
testimony at trial indicated that Beville continued to work
after her December 2013 accident and that she did not take
the nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medication prescribed to
her by Dr. Phillip Bobo, who initially treated her after her
accident. However, Beville also suffered from knee, back, and
neck pain after her accident; although the trial court
determined that any injury to Beville's left knee, back,
and neck were not compensable, Beville testified, and her
medical records reveal, that she was prescribed several
medications between March 2014 and the date of trial by
physicians other than Dr. Bobo, including a muscle relaxer, a
synthetic opioid pain reliever, and non-opioid pain
relievers. Beville's medical records also reveal that she
continued to report wrist pain in the months following the
accident and that, after cortisone injections failed to
provide lasting relief, Beville underwent surgery on her
wrist. After the surgery, she attended physical therapy, at
which she continued to complain of varying degrees of pain
and of burning and numbness with the use of her wrist
throughout therapy. The physical-therapy notes indicate that,
although therapy was decreasing her pain in the short term,
she continued to have pain after certain treatments
October 2014, after she reached maximum medical improvement
("MMI"), Beville underwent a functional-capacities
evaluation ("FCE"). The results of that FCE
indicated that Beville could not perform the duties of her
employment as a correctional officer because of deficits in
her ability to lift, carry, and push. According to the FCE
report, "the primary limiting factors during [the FCE]
were complaints of wrist pain." The FCE determined that
Beville could perform within the "light plus"
category, which requires "exerting up to 30 pounds of
force occasionally and/or up to 10 pounds of force
frequently." The FCE reflected that Beville was able to
lift 40 pounds from floor to waist but that she stopped that
task complaining of wrist pain and that she was able to lift
30 pounds from waist to overhead but, again, stopped the task
complaining of pain in her wrist. The FCE did not
specifically state the restrictions placed on Beville.
John P. Buckley, Beville's authorized treating physician,
issued a statement of physical-impairment rating. He stated
that he had determined that Beville had suffered a 4%
impairment to her left upper extremity. He explained that
Beville had "decreased joint mobility and increased
stiffness" in her wrist and limited grip strength in her
left hand. However, Dr. Buckley stated that he had not
assigned an impairment rating for the loss of strength
in Beville's left hand because, he said, he expected her
loss of strength to ...