James A. Ashford, Employee, Claimant, Respondent,
Prysmian Power Cables & Systems, USA, Employer, and Sentry Insurance Company, Carrier, Appellants. Appellate Case No. 2016-002423
April 17, 2019
from the Appellate Panel of the South Carolina Workers'
Nicolas Lee Haigler, of Robinson Gray Stepp & Laffitte,
LLC, of Columbia, for Appellants.
Newton Truitt, of Truitt Law Firm, LLC, of Columbia, for
Power Cables & Systems, USA and Sentry Insurance Company
(collectively Prysmian) appeal an order issued by the South
Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission Appellate Panel
declining to address injuries asserted in a Form 50 filed by
the claimant, James A. Ashford, because they were not
properly before the Appellate Panel. Prysmian argues the
findings of the Appellate Panel were in error and violate its
due process rights. We dismiss the appeal as interlocutory.
October 30, 2013, Ashford sustained an injury to his right
wrist when his right hand and wrist were caught and crushed
in a machine while working for Prysmian. Ashford's
injuries resulted in a crush injury, right dorsal wound,
right ulnar styloid fracture, right triangular fibrocartilage
complex tear, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
February 16, 2015, Ashford filed a Form 50 with the South
Carolina Workers' Compensation Commission (the
Commission) alleging injury to his right upper extremity,
right lower extremity, right side, and a resultant
psychological injury. In addition, Ashford alleged the injury
resulted in a permanent disability and mediation is required
pursuant to section 67-1802 of the South Carolina Code of
Regulations (Supp. 2018).
response, Prysmian filed a Form 51 on March 12, 2015
admitting a compensable injury to Ashford's right wrist,
but denying injuries to Ashford's right lower extremity,
right side and/or psyche. Prysmian asserted mediation was not
appropriate in the matter "until there is a finding
regarding the compensability of the alleged body parts. If
the claim is limited to a single scheduled member, mediation
cannot be ordered." Prysmian also alleged
All affirmative and specific defenses (see Reg. 67-603),
including but not limited to § 42-15-20, pre-existing
disability to allegedly injured members; degree of
disability, if any, attributable to this injury [sic]
speculative; claimant's problems [sic] personal in nature
and not work-related; defendants reserve the right to amend
this Answer and plead additional defenses.
filed a Form 21 on April 30, 2015, requesting a hearing to
stop compensation. In its Form 21, Prysmian asserted Ashford
reached maximum medical improvement (MMI), requested
compensation be terminated, and requested a credit for
overpayment of temporary compensation.
23, 2015, the commissioner held a hearing to address
Prysmian's Form 21. At the hearing, Prysmian objected to
Ashford's submission of the reports and opinions of Todd
Hanson, a licensed marriage and family therapist, based on
the fact they were untimely and Hanson did not qualify as an
expert on the issue of psychological injuries or conditions.
The commissioner allowed the admission of the reports and
opinions. Furthermore, he stated he would address
Hanson's qualifications in his order. The commissioner
also indicated he would "leave the record open so that
[Prysmian] could depose the doctor."
commissioner issued an order on May 4, 2016. In the order,
the commissioner determined Ashford was not at MMI for his
wrist injury, he was entitled to future medical treatment for
his wrist injury by a physician of his choosing, and Prysmian
was prohibited from stopping temporary total disability
benefits. Concerning the issue of additional injuries to
Ashford's psyche, right lower extremity, and right side,
and permanent and total disability, the commissioner
determined these issues ...