Buford v. Standard Gravel Co
In Buford v. Standard Gravel Co., 68 Ark. App. 162, 5 S.W.3d 478 (1999), the Commission was unimpressed with the appellant's credibility and motivation to return to work based on proof that he drank beer, enjoyed deer hunting, fishing, and camping, and his ability to shop with his wife, garden, and mow his lawn.
The Court rejected the Commission's analysis and reasoned as follows:
When Buford's age, education, work experience, and medical restrictions are considered together, Buford made a clear and convincing prima facie case that he was totally and permanently disabled by his throat injury and his three back injuries. The burden then shifted to the employer to show that work is readily and consistently available within appellant's restrictions in his hometown of El Dorado, Arkansas. The employer failed to meet that burden . . . The Commission should have awarded Buford permanent and total disability benefits. We reverse and remand for it to enter the order. (Buford, 68 Ark. App. at 169-70, 5 S.W.3d 483-84.)
In Buford v. Standard Gravel Co., the court of appeals reversed a finding by the Commission that the appellant did not fall within the odd-lot doctrine guidelines. Buford had had his larynx crushed and had undergone three back surgeries. He had been restricted from repetitive bending, stooping, and lifting heavy objects.
After each injury and each surgery he had returned to work. Then his doctor found that he was permanently and totally disabled.
The Commission, in making its decision, emphasized his lack of motivation, his use of beer, his enjoyment of walking to his friend's home, his ability to hunt deer, fish and camp, and his ability to shop with his wife, garden, and mow the yard. Therefore, it denied that he fell under the odd-lot doctrine.
The Court reversed.