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Workmen's compensation. Jackson Superior Court. Before Judge Dunahoo.
BELL, Presiding Judge.
On review of an award denying workmen's compensation, the full board did not abuse its discretion in failing to remand the case to a single director for the purpose of taking additional evidence.
In this workmen's compensation case, a single director rendered an award denying compensation. On review by the full board claimant made application in writing seeking an order remanding the case to the single director for the purpose of taking additional evidence. The board never expressly granted or denied the application, but without remanding the case, adopted the findings of the single director with one exception, and denied compensation. On appeal to the superior court, the court entered judgment setting aside the final award with direction that the board allow claimant to introduce additional evidence.
We know of no provision of law which would require the board to issue an order formally and expressly granting or denying a party's application to take additional evidence under Code Ann. 114-708. A requirement of that kind might be provided by the board itself in the exercise of its rule-making powers under Code 114-703. We are aware that the board has promulgated Rule 22 relating to the taking of additional evidence on review and to the procedural restrictions against a party making application to take new evidence. However, even if that rule required an express grant or denial by the board in acting on the application, we could not take judicial notice of the rule. Shurman v. City of Atlanta, 148 Ga. 1, 14 (95 SE 698); Crouch v. Fisher, 43 Ga. App. 484 (3) (159 SE 746). Compare, Adams v. Utica Mut. Ins. Co., 88 Ga. App. 386, 389 (76 SE2d 709); Butler v. Fidelity & Cas. Co., 88 Ga. App. 620, 623 (76 SE2d 813).
The workmen's compensation law is altogether statutory in its origin and procedure. Threatt v. American Mut. Liab. Ins. Co., 173 Ga. 350, 360 (160 SE 379). The board is not a court, but an administrative body which exercises judicial functions within the channels of the Act. In the administration of the Act, the technical niceties of pleading and procedure as applied to courts of law and equity need not be strictly followed. Maryland Cas. Co. v. Gill, 46 Ga. App. 746, 748 (169 SE 245); Jones v. American Mut. Liab. Ins. Co., 48 Ga. App. 351, 352 (172 SE 600).
Since proceedings before the board are summary and, in a legal sense, informal, we do not think the superior court was correct in declaring that it was incumbent on the board to issue an order granting or denying the motion, in the absence of statute or rule requiring formal action by the board.
The board's power to order the taking of additional evidence on review is a discretionary one. "The appeal to the board being a de novo proceeding, it may in its discretion hear the parties at issue, their representatives and witnesses." Pacific Employers Ins. Co. v. West, 213 Ga. 296, 298 (99 SE2d 89). However, the board is not obliged to take additional testimony where it is not deemed advisable to do so. Southeastern Express Co. v. Edmondson, 30 Ga. App. 697, 705 (119 SE 39); American Mut. Liab. Ins. Co. v. Hardy, 36 Ga. App. 487, 491 (137 SE 113); Watkins v. Hartford Acc. &c. Co., 75 Ga. App. 462, 465 (43 SE2d 549). That discretion must not be disturbed except in cases where it is manifestly abused.
This court has held that the board, in exercising its power to take additional evidence on review, may properly be guided by principles applicable in the courts in passing on motions for new trial based on newly discovered evidence. Southeastern Express Co. v. Edmondson, 30 Ga. App. 697, 705, supra; Moody v. Tillman, 45 Ga. App. 84 (3) (163 SE 521). In this case it appeared that some of the evidence which claimant proposed to introduce on review clearly would be inadmissible. All the proposed evidence was merely corroborative, and it did not appear as to any of it that the same evidence could not have been presented by reasonable diligence at the hearing before the single director. Under these circumstances the record does not show any abuse of discretion by the board in proceeding with the hearing on review on the basis of evidence previously taken before the single director.
The superior court erred in setting the award aside.
Judgment reversed. Hall and Quillian, JJ., concur.
Paris & Channell, G. Wesley Channell, for appellee.
Charles L. Drew, for appellants.
Friday May 22 18:25 EDT

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