AMEC FOSTER WHEELER KAMTECH, INC.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
from Escambia Circuit Court (CV-16-900090).
B. Walston and P. Andrew Laird, Jr., of Starnes Davis Florie
LLP, Birmingham, for appellant.
C. King, Monroeville, for appellee.
November 16, 2015, Jimmy Chandler was employed as a welder by
AMEC Foster Wheeler Kamtech, Inc. ("AMEC").
Chandler felt a pain in his back upon
lifting a pipe. Chandler reported the accident to his
foreman, who suggested that he "walk it off." The
next day, Chandler reported to his foreman that he was still
suffering back pain, and the foreman sent Chandler to
"safety," where he completed forms and was given
"bio-freeze" and a patch, which, Chandler said, did
not alleviate his pain. A few days after the accident, AMEC
sent Chandler to a local physician, Dr. Mark Roberts, who
ultimately referred Chandler to Dr. James West, an orthopedic
surgeon specializing in spinal injury.
West first evaluated Chandler on January 5, 2016. According
to Dr. West, Chandler suffered from degenerative changes in
his spine and had a "small protrusion" at the C6-7
vertebrae, a protrusion at the T7-8 vertebrae, and a
protrusion at the L4-5 vertebrae. Dr. West believed that
Chandler was suffering from chronic thoracolumbar strain and
prescribed some medication and physical therapy. Dr. West
restricted Chandler from lifting over 10 pounds and ordered
that he avoid sweeping. After physical therapy was
unsuccessful in improving Chandler's condition, Dr. West
prescribed an epidural injection, which was administered on
February 25, 2016. Dr. West prescribed a second epidural
injection for Chandler on March 31, 2016. Chandler then
missed three appointments, and, as a result, Dr. West placed
Chandler at maximum medical improvement ("MMI") on
June 14, 2016.
compliance with Dr. West's restrictions, AMEC placed
Chandler on light duty in January 2016. However, Chandler
suffered continuing pain that was exacerbated by his drive to
work. He left AMEC's employ on January 11, 2016. At that
time, AMEC was not paying Chandler any temporary workers'
testified that he had missed the appointments with Dr. West
because he lacked transportation. He returned to Dr. West in
August 2016, at which time he received another epidural
injection. According to Dr. West, Chandler received further
epidural injections in September 2016, January 2017, March
2017, and on February 2, 2018. Dr. West opined that Chandler
had "markedly improved" after June 2016 and that
Chandler would, as of the date of Dr. West's deposition
in May 2018, "need [to seek] additional treatment...
once or twice a year ... for an epidural or injections."
worked for other employers between the conclusion of his
employment with AMEC in January 2016 and the time of trial in
July 2018. Chandler worked for TEI Construction Services,
Inc. ("TEI"), at three different locations, during
2016 and 2017. He worked for TEI in Georgia for a total of
three weeks in April and May 2016. Chandler worked for TEI in
Louisiana for four weeks in July and August 2016, for TEI in
South Carolina for five weeks during February, March, and
April 2017, and again for TEI in Georgia for three weeks in
April and May 2017. According to Chandler, however, he
supervised other welders and inspected their welds but did
not perform any welding himself during his employment with
TEI at any location. In April and May 2018, Chandler worked
for "PPM" in Nebraska, where, he said, he primarily
supervised other welders, did "prefab work," and
"lined everything out"; Chandler testified that a
friend had gotten him that position. Chandler also worked for
R & J Construction ("R & J") "off and
on to try and keep my bills paid," where, he said, he
supervised others and did "a little bit of mechanic work
now and then." Chandler explained that R & J was
owned by a lifelong friend, who, Chandler said, employed him
whenever that friend could "afford to keep me
on." Chandler testified that, with the assistance of his
nephew, he had performed bulldozer work with his own
bulldozer in July 2018.
testified that his back pain prevented him from performing
the tasks required for his previous position of precision or
specialty welder. He explained that specialty welders often
have to work in unusual positions in order to perform the
welds required by their jobs. Chandler testified that he
could not bend into the awkward positions often required,
and, he said, he had begun to shake when in pain, which, he
said, negatively impacted his ability to hold and operate his
equipment and to properly weld. According to Chandler, he had
historically worked as a welder on "shutdowns,"
which Chandler described as "when a power company or a
paper mill has either breakdowns or routine scheduled
maintenance to where [that company] shut[s] the mill down;