Ruffin, 071521 ARWC, G701898

Docket NºClaim G701898
Case DateJuly 15, 2021
Claim No. G701898
Arkansas Workers Compensation
Before the Arkansas Workers' Compensation Commission
July 15, 2021
         Hearing conducted before ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE TERRY DON LUCY, in Pulaski County, Arkansas.           Counsel for the Claimant: HONORABLE ROBERT CORTINEZ, II, Attorney at Law, Little Rock, Arkansas.           Counsel for the Respondents: HONORABLE JAMES A. ARNOLD, II, Attorney at Law, Fort Smith, Arkansas.          OPINION AND ORDER           TERRY DON LUCY ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE          Statement of the Case          The above-captioned matter came on for a hearing on May 4, 2021, before the undersigned Administrative Law Judge. A Pre-hearing Order was entered in this matter by the undersigned Administrative Law Judge on March 24, 2021, which reflected the following stipulations:
(1) The Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission has jurisdiction of this claim; and,
(2) The employee/employer/carrier relationship existed at all relevant times, including March 9, 2017, on which date the Claimant sustained multiple compensable injuries for which certain benefits have been paid.
         The pre-hearing Order of March 24, 2021, also reflected the issues to be adjudicated, as set forth below:
(1) The Claimant’s correct average weekly wage and corresponding compensation rates in association with his compensable injuries of March 9, 2017, his entitlement to a corresponding underpayment award; and,
(2) Attorney’s fees in relation to potentially underpaid indemnity benefits.
         During preliminary discussions, and with it noted by respective Counsels that the Claimant contends the correct average weekly wage applicable to the date of injury herein to be $404.00 weekly, and that the Respondents contend such to be $121.68 weekly, the pre-hearing Order of March 24, 2021, was introduced into evidence as Commission's Exhibit No. 1 without objection. (TR 7-10) The parties' respective exhibits were likewise introduced into evidence without objection. (TR 10-13)          Testimony          Joshua Ruffin          The Claimant, who was thirty-three years-old at the time of the hearing, testified that on March 9, 2017, he sustained significant injuries that included a traumatic brain injury, a punctured lung, fractured ribs, and injuries to his shoulder, hip, and pelvis as the result of falling some thirty feet through a ceiling onto a concrete floor. At that time, the Claimant was on his second day as a temporary laborer (debris removal) on his most recent assignment from Respondent Employer (hereinafter referred to as "the Air Base job"). (TR 15-17)          The Claimant further testified that when he initially applied for work with Respondent Employer on October 11, 2016, he had indicated on his application...

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