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BRADY v. SACONY OF ST. MATTHEWS ET AL.

December 3, 1957

LILLIE BRADY, CLAIMANT-RESPONDENT,
v.
SACONY OF ST. MATTHEWS, EMPLOYER, AND AMERICAN MUTUAL LIABILITY INSURANCE COMPANY, CARRIER, DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Moss, Justice.

December 3, 1957.

This is a proceeding for compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act, Section 72-1 et seq., Code of 1952, instituted by Lillie Brady, respondent, against Sacony of St. Matthews, Inc., employer, and American Mutual Liability Insurance Co., carrier, appellants.

The respondent was employed by Sacony as a buttonhole marker and elastic cutter. On December 19, 1955, while seated at her work table, she began to feel hot and flushed and became ill. She went to the ladies' rest room. There, standing by an open window, she fainted and fell, striking her head against a brick sill protruding from the window, causing a slight abrasion on her face and a cut on her head. Thereafter, the respondent filed a claim against the appellants under the Workmen's Compensation Act for medical benefits and total disability claimed to be the result of her fall.

The hearing commissioner found that the respondent received an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of her employment. The appellants made timely application for a review before the full industrial commission. The order of the single commissioner was affirmed by the full commission. Thereafter, an appeal was duly taken by the employer and its insurance carrier to the Court of Common Pleas for Calhoun County, South Carolina. This appeal was heard by the Honorable George T. Gregory, Jr., Presiding Judge, who, on January 3, 1957, issued his order affirming the decision and award of the commission.

Timely appeal to this Court followed. The single exception raises the question of whether there was any evidence to support the award of the commission. the appellants deny that the respondent suffered a fall and injury that arose by accident out of her employment or that there was a causal connection between the injury and her employment. They contend that the injury suffered by the respondent was due to an internal body failure. The respondent contends that the only reasonable inference to be drawn from the evidence is that she became overheated as a result of her employment, causing her to become sick and nauseated, and from which condition she fell and received her injury.

It should be borne in mind that the burden is upon the claimant to prove such facts as will render the injury compensable, within the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act, and such award must not be based upon surmise, conjecture or speculation. Leonard v. Georgetown County, 230 S.C. 388, 95 S.E.2d 777; Broughton v. South Carolina Game & Fish Department, 219 S.C. 50, 64 S.E.2d 152; Mims v. Nehi Bottling Co., 218 S.C. 513, 63 S.E.2d 305.

We have likewise held that the Industrial Commission is the fact finding body, and this Court and the Circuit Court, both being Appellate Courts in Workmen's Compensation cases, can only review the facts to determine whether or not there is any competent evidence to support the finding of fact made by such Commission. Leonard v. Georgetown County, supra; Wilson v. City of Darlington. 229 S.C. 62, 91 S.E.2d 714; Whitfield v. Daniel Construction Co., 226 S.C. 37, 83 S.E.2d 460; Rudd v. Fairforest Finishing Co., 189 S.C. 188, 200 S.E. 727; Jones v. Anderson Cotton Mills, 205 S.C. 247, 31 S.E.2d 447. It follows that this Court, and also the Circuit Court, may reverse an award if there is an absence of any evidence to support it.

Section 72-14 of the 1952 Code of Laws of South Carolina, defines injury and personal injury as follows:

"`Injury' and `personal injury' shall mean only injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the employment and shall not include a disease in any form, except when it results naturally and unavoidably from the accident and except such diseases as are compensable under the provisions of chapter 5 of this Title."

This Court has held that before a claimant can be awarded compensation under the Act for injuries suffered, it must be shown that such injuries arose out of the employment and in the course of employment. There is no question raised here that the injury suffered by the claimant was while in the course of her employment, but the question is whether or not the injury suffered arose out of her employment. When the Act speaks of arising out of the employment, it has reference to the origin and cause of the injury. Radcliffe v. Southern Aviation School, 209 S.C. 411. 40 S.E.2d 626.

Bearing in mind the foregoing principles we must now determine whether or not there was any competent evidence before the Commission tending to show that the injury to the claimant was the result of accidental means arising out of her employment.

The testimony shows that the respondent, at the time of her injury, was 41 years of age, in good health, and had been employed for six years by Sacony. During this period of time she had not missed a day from her work. She testified also that on December 19, 1955, the day of her injury, that she was engaged in cutting elastic to go in the legs of bathing suits. She was sitting at a table performing her duty. She had been at work for about four hours and had not been sick during this period. However, she began to feel hot, flushed, sick and nauseated. She retired from the workroom to the rest room provided for the female employees. There she fell, sustaining a slight abrasion on her face and a cut on her head, described by the physician as being about three-quarters of an inch long and one-quarter of an inch deep. As is heretofore stated, it was the theory of the respondent that she became overheated as a result of her employment, causing her to become sick and nauseated, from which condition she fell and received her injury. We quote the testimony of the respondent with reference to this.

"Q. Well, what about the heat in the building? A. Well the building got awfully hot at times and this particular morning I don't remember whether it was hot, but I know I got awfully hot.

"Q. You got awfully hot? A. Just before I —

"Q. Will you describe your feelings, I mean what happened? A. Well, just maybe about eleven thirty I got to feeling kind of bad, kind of — you know kind of flushy feeling like and I sat there —

"Q. What was that due to? A. It could have been due to the heat, probably to the ...


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