December 15, 2016
OF CERTIORARI TO THE COURT OF APPEALS
From The Workers' Compensation Commission
Charles B. Burnette, III, of Burnette & Payne, PA, of
Rock Hill, and John S. Nichols and Blake A. Hewitt, both of
Bluestein Nichols Thompson & Delgado, LLC, of Columbia,
C. Glover, of South Carolina Uninsured Employers' Fund,
of Columbia, for Respondent.
case we review the decision of the court of appeals affirming
the Workers' Compensation Commission's award of
benefits to a dancer who was shot while performing at a
nightclub. We find the commission's decision to award $75
per week is not supported by substantial evidence and
therefore reverse and remand.
LeAndra Lewis sought workers' compensation benefits for
injuries she suffered following a shooting in a night club
operated by L.B. Dynasty. In a previous opinion, this Court
held Lewis was an employee--not an independent contractor--of
L.B. Dynasty, entitling her to workers' compensation
benefits. Lewis v. L.B. Dynasty, 411 S.C. 637, 770
S.E.2d 393 (2015). We remanded the matter to the court of
appeals to review the commission's order awarding
benefits to Lewis. Ultimately, the court of appeals affirmed
the commission's award of $75 per week.
order, which first delved into a lengthy analysis of
Lewis's status as an independent contractor and precluded
her from collecting workers' compensation benefits, the
commission found that even if she had established herself as
an employee, her compensation rate would be $75.00 per week.
Specifically, the commission found, "There is no
evidence whatsoever as to the amount of money [Lewis] earned,
hours worked, etc. The only evidence is [Lewis's]
testimony, which is self-serving. [Lewis] is bound by the
wages earned from [L.B. Dynasty] only." The commission
then went on to state Lewis was required by Regulation
67-1603(H) to submit a Form 20 to the claims
department and her purported employer outlining her wages
earned from other employers before any additional wages could
remand, the court of appeals affirmed the commission's
award,  holding "[Lewis's] average weekly
wage was a factual determination supported by the evidence,
and the single commissioner made no legal errors in its
determination that she failed to meet her burden to prove her
wages earned from other employers." Lewis v. L.B.
Dynasty, Op. No. 2015-UP-339 (S.C. Ct. App. July 8,
2015). This Court granted Lewis a writ of certiorari to
review the award.
appellate court may reverse or modify a decision by the
Workers' Compensation Commission if the decision is not
supported by substantial evidence or is affected by an error
of law. S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-380(5) (Supp. 2016);
Jones v. Ga.-Pac. Corp., 355 S.C. 413, 416, 586
S.E.2d 111, 113 (2003). Substantial evidence is "not a
mere scintilla of evidence nor the evidence viewed blindly
from one side of the case, but is evidence which, considering
the record as a whole, would allow reasonable minds to reach
the conclusion ...