NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS
Filed: 1 May 2007
ROY JEFFREY HOPKINS,
v. Industrial Commission
I.C. No. 346138
INDEPENDENT TROUBLE SHOOTING,
INC., and DARRELL J. FREEMAN
and ROBIN K. FREEMAN, individually
and as officers of Independent
Trouble Shooting, Inc.,
NORTH CAROLINA INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION,
v. Industrial Commission
INDEPENDENT TROUBLE SHOOTING, INC.,
DARRELL J. FREEMAN and ROBIN K.
FREEMAN, individually and as officers
of Independent Trouble Shooting, Inc.,
Appeal by defendant from order filed 10 November 2005 by the
North Carolina Industrial Commission. Heard in the Court of
Appeals 16 April 2007.
No brief filed on behalf of plaintiff-appellee.
Schiller & Schiller, PLLC, by David G. Schiller, for
defendant-appellant Independent Trouble Shooting, Inc..
Defendant Independent Trouble Shooting, Inc. appeals from anorder of the North Carolina Industrial Commission adding two
defendants and remanding to the deputy commissioner for de novo
hearings as to whether the new defendants are liable for workers'
compensation benefits pursuant to a prior opinion and award. We
conclude that defendant's appeal is interlocutory and, therefore,
not properly before this Court. Accordingly, we dismiss
In June 2003, while working for defendant, plaintiff Roy
Jeffrey Hopkins injured his ankle and bruised his left foot. These
injuries eventually required significant surgeries and the
amputation of portions of the foot. Following a hearing on
plaintiff's claim for workers' compensation benefits, Deputy
Commissioner George R. Hall, III entered an opinion and award on 10
August 2004. Deputy Commissioner Hall determined that plaintiff's
ankle and foot injuries were compensable injuries by accident and
that defendant did not have workers' compensation insurance. He,
therefore, ordered defendant to pay plaintiff temporary total
disability compensation and medical expenses.
Plaintiff subsequently filed a motion seeking to have
defendant held in contempt for failing to comply with Deputy
Commissioner Hall's opinion and award. Following a hearing on 25
January 2005, Deputy Commissioner Theresa B. Stephenson allowed
plaintiff's motion. Defendant appealed Deputy Commissioner
Stephenson's order to the Full Commission. On its own motion, the
Commission filed an order on 10 November 2005 adding as defendantsDarrell J. Freeman and Robin K. Freeman, the president and vice-
president of defendant Independent Trouble Shooting. The order
then provided "that these matters are remanded to the Deputy
Commissioner section of the Industrial Commission for a de novo
hearing or hearings to determine whether these individual
defendants may be liable for payment of workers compensation
benefits and penalties as awarded in Deputy Commissioner George
Hall's Opinion and Award filed on August 10, 2004." Defendant has
appealed to this Court from the Commission's order.
An appeal from a decision of the Industrial Commission is
subject to the "same terms and conditions as govern appeals from
the superior court to the Court of Appeals in ordinary civil
actions." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 97-86 (2005). Thus, as in any other
civil action, an appeal of right to the Court of Appeals arises
only from a final order or decision. Ledford v. Asheville Hous.
, 125 N.C. App. 597, 598-99, 482 S.E.2d 544, 545, disc. review
, 346 N.C. 280, 487 S.E.2d 550 (1997). See also
Stat. § 7A-27(b) (2005) (noting appeals from superior courts arise
only from "final judgment[s]").
A final order or opinion and award of the Industrial
Commission is one that determines the entire controversy and leaves
nothing to be decided in that tribunal. Ratchford v. C.C. Mangum,
, 150 N.C. App. 197, 199, 564 S.E.2d 245, 247 (2002). A
decision of the Industrial Commission that on its face directs
further proceedings or does not dispose of all claims isinterlocutory and is not immediately appealable unless it affects
a substantial right. Watts v. Hemlock Homes of the Highlands,
, 160 N.C. App. 81, 84-85, 584 S.E.2d 97, 99 (2003). The
burden is upon the appellant to show that an interlocutory
determination affects a substantial right. Id.
at 85, 584 S.E.2d
Here, the Full Commission's order is interlocutory, as it adds
two new defendants and directs the holding of de novo hearings.
See Riggins v. Elkay S. Corp.
, 132 N.C. App. 232, 233, 510 S.E.2d
674, 675 (1999) ("An opinion and award that settles preliminary
questions of compensability but leaves unresolved the amount of
compensation to which the plaintiff is entitled and expressly
reserves final disposition of the matter pending receipt of further
evidence is interlocutory
." (emphasis added)). Defendant makes no
showing in its brief that the order affects a substantial right.
As defendant has failed to demonstrate any jurisdictional basis for
this appeal, we dismiss.
Judges WYNN and ELMORE concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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