This appeal arises pursuant to the Texas Workers' Compensation Act, TEX. LAB. CODE ANN. § 401.001 et seq. (1989 Act). A contested case hearing was held on July 14, 2004. The hearing officer determined that: (1) the compensable injury of ______________, does not include an injury to the cervical spine/neck or degenerative disc bulges at L4-5 or L5-S1; and (2) the appellant (claimant) did not have disability resulting from the injury on ______________. The claimant appeals these determinations on sufficiency of the evidence grounds and asserts that “the hearing officer discriminated against me because of my religion.” The respondent (carrier) urges affirmance.
The hearing officer did not err in making the complained-of determinations. The determinations involved questions of fact for the hearing officer to resolve. The hearing officer is the sole judge of the weight and credibility of the evidence (Section 410.165(a)) and, as the trier of fact, resolves the conflicts and inconsistencies in the evidence, including the medical evidence (Texas Employers Insurance Association v. Campos, 666 S.W.2d 286 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1984, no writ)). In view of the evidence presented, we cannot conclude that the hearing officer's determinations are so against the great weight and preponderance of the evidence as to be clearly wrong or manifestly unjust. Cain v. Bain, 709 S.W.2d 175, 176 (Tex. 1986).
As stated above, the claimant asserts that the hearing officer demonstrated bias in reaching her decision and requests reversal on this basis. We find no support in the record for the claimant’s contention that the hearing officer was motivated by or in any way demonstrated bias against the claimant. The mere fact that the hearing officer issued a decision adverse to the claimant does not, in our view, demonstrate bias but is the prerogative of the hearing officer as the sole judge of the weight and credibility of the evidence. Accordingly, we find no basis to reverse the hearing officer’s decision.
The decision and order of the hearing officer is affirmed.
The true corporate name of the insurance carrier is ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY and the name and address of its registered agent for service of process is
ZURICH NORTH AMERICA
12222 MERIT DRIVE, SUITE 700
DALLAS, TEXAS 75251.
Veronica L. Ruberto