final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
of Accident: December 4, 2017
appeal from an order of the Judge of Compensation Claims.
Walter J. Havers, Judge.
Khullar of Khullar, P.A., Tamarac, for Appellant.
Rayford H. Taylor of Hall Booth Smith, P.C., Atlanta, for
Blanco appeals the Judge of Compensation Claims' order
denying his claim for worker's compensation benefits. The
JCC did not find credible Blanco's claim that exposure to
construction or cement dust from his job site during his
short-term employment with Creative Management Services
caused his respiratory condition. The JCC also agreed with
the expert medical opinion that Blanco's seventeen-year
history of smoking cigarettes caused his respiratory
condition. Blanco makes several arguments for reversal.
Finding no error, we affirm.
smoked cigarettes for seventeen years before he began work
with CMS. Blanco's accounts of how much he smoked varied.
The number of cigarettes he claimed that he smoked daily
ranged from half a pack per day up to three packs per day. In
mid-November 2017, his primary care doctor noted that Blanco
was still smoking heavily and that he reported more frequent
use of an inhaler. The doctor also recorded in his notes of
Blanco's visit a diagnosis of probable chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease.
after the November visit to his doctor, Blanco started work
with CMS to set up booths for an art show. The job required
Blanco to move furniture, build walls and booths, paint, and
hang signs. During the eleven days he worked for CMS, Blanco
claimed that he saw dust and debris in the air at the job
site. According to Blanco, other workers were milling or
grinding concrete at the loading dock. Blanco stated that a
crew would periodically sweep and hose down the area, but it
did not control the dust. He claimed that he had trouble
breathing and was using his inhaler more often while at the
job site. On the morning of December 5th, Blanco woke up and
had trouble breathing. His wife called 911 and paramedics
transported Blanco to the emergency room in respiratory
distress. Doctors diagnosed him with advanced COPD and an
acute exacerbation of unspecified asthma. Blanco made a claim
for worker's compensation benefits, alleging that the
exposure to dust and debris at the CMS job site caused him to
suffer from COPD. The E/C denied compensability on grounds
that the alleged on-the-job exposure to dust was not the
major contributing cause of Blanco's respiratory
raises five arguments challenging the JCC's order denying
benefits. We affirm on all and write only to address his
arguments about the admission of expert testimony and the
evidence supporting the JCC's order denying benefits.
contends that no competent, substantial evidence supports the
JCC's decision to deny benefits. We disagree. Blanco had
the burden to prove his claim. We review the JCC's
findings of fact to determine whether competent, substantial
evidence supports the JCC's findings. See, e.g.,
Mylock v. Champion Int'l, 906 So.2d 363 (Fla.
1st DCA 2005). A decision in favor of the party without the
burden of proof need not be supported by competent,
substantial evidence. See Fitzgerald v. Osceola Cty. Sch.
Bd., 974 So.2d 1161, 1164 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008);
Mitchell v. XO Commc'ns, 966 So.2d 489, 490
(Fla. 1st DCA 2007). As this court observed in Mitchell,
"a JCC may reject in whole or in part even
uncontroverted testimony the JCC disbelieves."
Id. (citing following a no contest plea).
the JCC concluded that Blanco did not meet his burden to show
that exposure to dust and debris at the CMS job site was the
major contributing cause of his respiratory condition. The
JCC rejected Blanco's testimony about the alleged cause
of his condition. The JCC had a chance to observe
Blanco's demeanor and found that he lacked credibility.
He also found that Blanco was an unreliable witness based on
the substantially incomplete and contradictory medical
histories he provided to his doctors. As a result, the JCC
concluded that Blanco failed to meet his burden to show that
he suffered an accident from exposure "in the course and
scope of his employment." The JCC was in the best
position "to evaluate and weigh the testimony and
evidence based on its observation of the bearing, demeanor,