Certiorari was granted on the petition of Mary Belle Lucas to review the judgment of the Circuit Court of Jefferson County denying her compensation for the death of her husband, Robert Dalton Lucas, in an action brought by her against Black Diamond Coal Mining Company under the Alabama Workmen's Compensation Law, Code 1940, Tit. 26, § 253 et seq., as amended.
The Mining Company, in its answer to the petition in the trial court, admitted that on January 9, 1947, "the said Robert Dalton Lucas and the defendant were subject to the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Law of Alabama" and that "on said date, the said Robert Dalton Lucas received an injury which arose out of and in the course of his employment, and that said injury resulted" in his death. With respect to Mary Belle Lucas being the widow of Robert Lucas, the Company's answer was as follows: "Prior to January 9, 1947, Robert Dalton Lucas procured a divorce from the plaintiff and subsequently thereto contracted marriage with another woman. The defendant admits that subsequent to the death of Robert Dalton Lucas, the Circuit Judge of Bibb County, Alabama, entered an order annulling the divorce which the said Robert Dalton Lucas procured from the plaintiff. The defendant does not know just what the legal effect of this order is, and, therefore, neither admits nor denies that the plaintiff is the widow of Robert Dalton Lucas but demands strict proof thereof." We do not understand there to be any question now about Mary Belle Lucas being the widow of Robert Lucas. In this connection see Lucas v. Lucas, 252 Ala. 626, 42 So.2d 457, and Lucas v. Lucas, 258 Ala. 515, 64 So.2d 70 (the first case being here on demurrer and
The disputed issue in the trial court was whether Robert Lucas had "in any way contributed" to the support of Mary Belle Lucas within the twelve months "next preceding the occurrence of the injury causing his death." Bearing on this issue, it is to be noted that Code 1940, Tit. 26, § 280, provides as follows:
As required by Code 1940, Tit. 26, § 304, the trial judge made a finding of facts, of which the following is a pertinent part:
It may be, as argued by appellee, that the trial judge might well have found from the evidence that the claimed $75 remittance was not in fact made within the twelve months next preceding the occurrence of the injury causing Robert Lucas' death; but, having found that it was made, and there being some evidence to support such finding, the question which we have to decide is whether there is any evidence, or any reasonable inference from evidence, to support the finding that said remittance was a gift and not a contribution to the wife's support.
The rule of review in a compensation case, which comes here on certiorari, Code 1940, Tit. 26, § 304, supra, is so well established as to be axiomatic: This court will not look to the evidence to ascertain the weight or preponderance thereof as to any fact found by the trial court, but simply to see if there is any evidence, or reasonable inference from evidence, to support the facts found by the trial court. If, on any reasonable view of the evidence, it will support the conclusion reached by the trial court, the finding and judgment will not be disturbed. To state the rule another way:—Where there is any legal evidence, or reasonable inference from legal evidence, to support the finding of facts of the trial court, such finding is conclusive, and the judgment rendered thereon will not be disturbed. Baggett Transp. Co. v. Holderfield, 260 Ala. 56, 59, 68 So.2d 21; Bass v. Cowikee Mills, 259 Ala. 391, 393, 67 So.2d 12; Southern Cotton Oil Co. v. Bruce, 249 Ala. 675, 678, 32 So.2d 666; Houser v. Young, 247 Ala. 562, 563, 25 So.2d 421; Sloss-sheffield Steel & Iron Co. v. Alexander, 241 Ala. 476, 478, 3 So.2d 46; Alabama By-Products Corporation v. Winters, 234 Ala. 566, 568, 176 So. 183; Woodward Iron Co. v. Jones, 217 Ala. 361, 362, 116 So. 425; Benoit Coal Mining Co. v. Moore, 215 Ala. 220, 222, 109 So. 878; Ex parte Little Cahaba Coal Co., 213 Ala. 596, 598, 105 So. 648; Ex parte Sloss-Sheffield Steel & Iron Co., 207 Ala. 219, 221, 92 So. 458.
It is our view, after full and careful consideration of the evidence, that the finding with respect to the $75 remittance being a gift is supported by a reasonable inference from the evidence and that, therefore, in the light of the stated rule of review, the finding and judgment of the trial court should not be disturbed by us. We see no need to detail the evidence. Suffice it to say that the long period of separation, though involuntary on the part of the wife as found by the trial court, without other contribution to the wife during the separation, when considered in connection with all the evidence, justifies the inference, we think, that the single $75 remittance at Christmas-tide
What was said in Ex parte Thomas, 209 Ala. 276, 277, 96 So. 233, 234, is applicable here, viz.:
See, also, Woodward Iron Co. v. Jones, 217 Ala. 361, 363, 116 So. 425.
We take note of petitioner's insistence that "substantial evidence is required to support a conclusion of non-dependency" and that there is no substantial evidence supporting the finding that Robert Lucas "had not in any way contributed" to the support of Mary Belle Lucas "for more than 12 months preceding the occurrence of the injury causing his death". In support of this, petitioner cites the case of Gulf States Steel Co. v. Griffin, 214 Ala. 126, 127, 106 So. 898, 899, where it is said: "A finding as to dependency, or the lack thereof, is conclusive on review, if there is any substantial evidence to support the conclusion announced." On first reading, this appears to lend, at least by implication, a measure of support to petitioner's insistence that to be conclusive on review a finding of dependency vel non must be supported by substantial evidence. But that is not what the statement says. Rather, it simply says that if there is any substantial evidence to support the trial court's findings, such findings are conclusive on review. That is certainly true, since it is clearly within the approved rule that the findings are conclusive if there is any evidence to support them. If any evidence will render the findings conclusive, then, of course, any substantial evidence will suffice for that purpose.
From what we have said it follows that the judgment of the trial court is due to be, and is, affirmed.
LIVINGSTON, C. J., and LAWSON and SIMPSON, JJ., concur.