Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Workers' Compensation Opinions

Format: 04/28/2017
Format: 04/28/2017
DONALD RAY BROWN v. ZURICH AMERICAN INSURANCE COMPANY
E2016-00237-SC-R3-WC

Donald Brown (“Employee”) filed this action, alleging that he sustained a compensable heart attack while working for Grand Eagle Company (“Employer”).[1]  After a hearing on the merits, the trial court found that Employee had failed to satisfy his burden of proof that the heart attack was caused by an acute, immediate, stressful event.  Judgment was entered for Employer.  Employee timely filed a notice of appeal to the Supreme Court, and the appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51.  We affirm the judgment.



[1]Grand Eagle Company went out of business before the trial.  Therefore, suit was brought against its insurer, Zurich American Insurance Company, in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-102(11) (1999).

Authoring Judge: JUDGE ROBERT E. LEE DAVIES, SR.
Originating Judge: CHANCELLOR TELFORD E. FORGETY
Sevier County Workers Compensation Panel 04/21/17
Tracy Payne v. D & D Electric, et al.
E2016-01177-SC-R3-WC

The issue in this workers’ compensation appeal is whether the employer is entitled to summary judgment. The employee filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, alleging he injured his foot in the course and scope of his employment. His employer denied the claim, citing a lack of medical proof that the injury was job-related. The Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims denied a motion for summary judgment filed by the employer, finding there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the work injury contributed more than fifty percent in causing the injury. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board reversed and dismissed the case, holding that the employee failed to produce sufficient evidence that his foot condition arose primarily out of and in the course and scope of his employment. After careful review, we affirm the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. 

Authoring Judge: Justice Sharon G. Lee
Originating Judge: Judge Thomas L. Wyatt
Hamilton County Workers Compensation Panel 04/18/17
Paula Dugger v. Home Health Care Of Middle Tennessee, et al
M2016-01284-SC-WCM-WC

Paula Dugger (“Employee”), a home health nurse, was injured in a motor vehicle accident while returning to her home from an attempt to travel to a patient’s residence. Home Health Care of Middle Tennessee (“Employer”) denied her claim, contending that the injury did not occur in the course of her employment. Employee sought temporary benefits from the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims (“trial court”). The trial court denied her petition, and that denial was affirmed by the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. Upon remand to the trial court, Employer filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of compensability. The motion was supported by a set of agreed facts submitted by the parties. The trial court granted Employer’s motion and entered an order dismissing Employee’s claim. Employee appealed directly to the Supreme Court, as permitted by Tennessee Code Annotated sections 50-6-225(a)(1) (2014) and 50-6-239(c)(7) (2014). The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We reverse and remand.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Robert E. Lee Davies
Originating Judge: Judge Dale Tipps
Workers Compensation Panel 04/13/17
Marilyn Miller Tansic v. Atkinson Enterprises, Inc., et al
M2016-01138-SC-R3-WC

Marilyn Miller Tansil (“Employee”) obtained temporary total disability benefits after injuring herself while mopping. Atkinson Enterprises, Inc. (“Employer”) acknowledged a compensable injury, but claimed Employee was not entitled to temporary benefits because she worked for her own company while unable to work for Employer. The trial court found Employee performed only token tasks at her company during her injury period, which did not constitute “work,” and thus, denied Employer’s requested credit against the permanent partial disability award. On appeal, Employer challenges the award of temporary total disability benefits as well as the multiplier used. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Don R. Ash
Originating Judge: Judge Howard W. Wilson
Rutherford County Workers Compensation Panel 04/12/17
Kelcey Williams v. Ajax Turner Company
M2016-00638-SC-R3-WC

On August 2, 2012, an employee sustained a compensable injury when a co-worker ran over the back of his left foot with a forklift. The employee received temporary disability benefits and medical benefits from his employer. The employee’s treating physician assigned a 20% permanent anatomical impairment to his left leg as a result of the injury. The employer sought a second opinion, and after performing a medical records review, the employer’s physician opined that employee had sustained only 5% permanent impairment to his left leg due to the injury. Based on this second opinion, the employer requested an evaluation through the medical impairment registry (“MIR”) program. After examining the employee and reviewing his medical records, the MIR physician also opined that the employee had sustained 5% permanent impairment to his left leg. However, the trial court found the employee had rebutted by clear and convincing evidence the presumption of correctness statutorily attached to the MIR physician’s rating, applied a multiplier of four, and awarded the employee 80% permanent partial disability (“PPD”) to the left leg. The employer has appealed, contending the trial court erred in finding that the employee had rebutted the MIR physician’s impairment rating by clear and convincing evidence and in applying a multiplier of four. The employee, in contrast, contends that the trial court erred in considering the MIR physician’s opinion at all. This appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We reverse and modify the trial court’s judgment and remand to the trial court for entry of an order consistent with this decision.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Don R. Ash
Originating Judge: Chancellor Howard W. Wilson
Rutherford County Workers Compensation Panel 04/12/17
Billy Joe Brewer v. Dillingham Trucking, Inc., et al
M2016-00611-SC-R3-WC

Employee, a truck driver, fell while climbing into the cab of Employer’s truck, which was parked at Employee’s home. Employer initially accepted the claim as compensable, but later denied it, asserting that Employee was not in the course of his employment when the injury occurred. The trial court found the injury to be compensable and awarded benefits. The trial court also granted a post-trial motion ordering Employer to pay for Employee’s independent medical evaluation (IME). Employer has appealed. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. The order requiring Employer to pay the cost of the IME is reversed. The remainder of the judgment is affirmed.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Robert E. Lee Davies
Originating Judge: Judge Russell Parkes
Lawrence County Workers Compensation Panel 04/11/17
Brandon Thompson v. United Parcel Service, Inc., et al
M2015-02526-SC-R3-WC

Brandon Thompson (“Employee”) worked as a delivery driver for United Parcel Service (“Employer”). He sustained a compensable injury to his lower back on January 18, 2012. He did not return to work for Employer. After the Benefit Review process was exhausted, he filed this action, seeking permanent total disability benefits. The trial court concluded that Employee was not totally disabled and awarded 44% permanent partial disability benefits. Employee has appealed, contending that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s finding that he was not permanently and totally disabled. He also claims that the judgment entered by the trial court is defective because it does not include certain findings. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Paul G. Summers
Originating Judge: Judge Kelvin D. Jones
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 02/17/17
Tony Gray v. Vision Hospitality Group, Inc., et al
M2016-00116-SC-R3-WC

Tony Gray (“Employee”) sustained a back injury on August 6, 2013 while working as a chief engineer at the Hyatt Place Hotel Airport in Nashville, Tennessee (“Employer”). Employee’s injury occurred while lifting and moving thirty rolls of carpet padding. After notifying Employer of his back injury, Employee was referred to Concentra Medical Clinic, where he was subsequently diagnosed with a back sprain and prescribed physical therapy. Employee experienced a slight improvement in his condition and was released in September 2013 to full-time work for a trial period in a light duty capacity. Upon his return to Employer, Employee was terminated for several issues relating to his job performance. Employee’s symptoms worsened, and he eventually required lower back surgery. He did not return to work for any employer thereafter. Based on Employee’s physical injuries, the trial court determined that Employee was permanently and totally disabled. Employer appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in its determination of permanent and total disability. Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, the appeal was referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Upon our review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. 

Authoring Judge: Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins
Originating Judge: Chancellor Claudia Bonnyman
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 01/26/17
Holly L. Grissom v. United Parcel Service, Inc., et al.
M2016-00127-SC-R3-WC

In October 2011, Holly Grissom (“Employee’) entered into a settlement agreement with United Parcel Service (“Employer”), resolving her workers’ compensation claim for an April 2007 injury.  In April 2013, Employer declined to authorize a procedure ordered by the authorized physician.  Employee filed a motion to compel Employer to authorize the procedure.  The trial court ordered Employer to pay $187.00 to Employee and to provide future medical care to her.  A second motion was filed, and the parties entered into an agreed order which again required Employer to pay $187.00 and reimburse Employee for mileage to and from medical treatment.  Employee petitioned for an award of attorney’s fees.  The court awarded fees and expenses in the amount of $27,353.63.  Employer has appealed from that order.  The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51.  We affirm the judgment.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Robert E. Lee Davies, Sr.
Originating Judge: Judge Amy V. Hollars
White County Workers Compensation Panel 01/09/17
State of Tennessee v. Dylan Ward Hutchins
E2016-00187-CCA-R3-CD

The defendant, Dylan Ward Hutchins, appeals the Washington County Criminal Court’s denial of his request for judicial diversion from his mitigated statutory rape conviction, arguing that the trial court failed to consider and properly weigh all relevant factors and improperly considered facts outside the record in rendering its decision. Following our review, we affirm the judgment of the trial court denying diversion. However, we remand to the trial court for entry of a corrected judgment reflecting the conviction offense as mitigated statutory rape.

Authoring Judge: Judge Alan E. Glenn
Originating Judge: Judge Stacy L. Street
Washington County Workers Compensation Panel 12/20/16
Eric Benson v. Southern Electric Corporation of Mississippi
W2015-02053-SC-R3-WC

Eric Benson (“Employee”) worked for Southern Electric Corporation of Mississippi (“Employer”) as a lineman. On July 12, 2011, he sustained an electric shock injury while working on a power line. The mechanism of the injury is not known, as Employee has no recollection of the incident nor were there any witnesses. He sustained burns to his back and groin area  and the left side of his head. He bit his tongue severely and injured his right knee. He further asserted he developed depression, headaches and post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”) as a result of the accident and contended he was totally and permanently disabled due to his injuries. Employer disputed the assertion. After a trial on the merits, the Chancery Court for McNairy County found Employee permanently and totally disabled and entered judgment accordingly. Employer appealed. The Supreme Court referred the appeal to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment.

Authoring Judge: Judge William B. Acree, Jr.
Originating Judge: Judge William C. Cole
McNairy County Workers Compensation Panel 12/19/16
DYSON-KISSNER-MORAN CORPORATION v. GERRY SHAVERS
E2015-02005-SC-R3-WC
Gerry Shavers ("Employee") worked for Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation d/b/a Burner
Systems International, Inc. ("Employer"), as a senior manufacturing engineer. In 2008,
he developed symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. His claim was accepted as
compensable. He continued to work at the same job until August 2009, when he was
terminated for violation of company policy. The primary issue at trial was whether his
award of permanent disability benefits was subject to the one and one-half times
impairment cap set out in Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A) (2008).
Finding that the cap applied because Employee was terminated for misconduct, the trial
court awarded permanent partial disability benefits of 46.5% to the body as a whole.
Judgment was entered in accordance with the trial court's findings, and Employee has
appealed. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals
Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to
Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment.
Authoring Judge: JUDGE KRISTI M. DAVIS
Originating Judge: JUDGE JEFFREY HOLLINGSWORTH
Hamilton County Workers Compensation Panel 12/16/16
ULYSSES STRAWTER v. MUELLER COMPANY
E2015-02374-SC-R3-WC
Ulysses Strawter ("Employee") was injured on August 11, 2012, in the course of his
employment with Mueller Company ("Employer"). After several months of temporary
disability, he returned to work at his pre-injury job. Subsequently, his position was
eliminated. He remained with Employer but was assigned to a lower-paying job. He
filed an action for workers' compensation benefits in the Chancery Court for Hamilton
County. The trial court held that Employee had a meaningful return to work and that his
award of permanent disability benefits was limited to one and one-half times the
impairment rating. Between the trial and the filing of the court's decision, Employee
returned to his previous job at a wage higher than his pre-injury wage. The trial court's
decision was not appealed. During the months after entry of judgment, Employee was
re-assigned to a lower paying position. He filed a petition for reconsideration. The trial
court held that Employee was entitled to reconsideration and awarded additional
permanent disability benefits in a stipulated amount. Employer has appealed. The appeal
has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and
a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court
Rule 51. The judgment of the trial court is affirmed.
Authoring Judge: JUDGE KRISTI M. DAVIS
Originating Judge: JUDGE PAMELA A. FLEENOR
Hamilton County Workers Compensation Panel 12/16/16
American Mining Insurance Company v. Terry H. Campbell
M2015-01478-SC-R3-WC

In 1992, Terry Campbell (“Employee”) suffered injuries to his lumbar and cervical spine as a result of a workplace accident. In 1998, the trial court awarded permanent and total disability benefits and ordered the employer’s insurer, American Mining Insurance Company (“Insurer”), to provide medical treatment in accordance with Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-204. Dr. Gregory Ball was Employee’s treating physician. In 2008, and again in 2010, Employee filed contempt petitions alleging Insurer failed to provide medical treatment recommended by Dr. Ball. On each occasion, the trial court found in favor of Employee. In 2013, Insurer filed a petition, asserting Dr. Ball’s treatment was neither reasonable nor necessary and seeking the removal of Dr. Ball as Employee’s physician. The trial court denied the petition and awarded attorney fees to Employee. Insurer appealed, asserting the trial court erred by denying its petition and awarding attorney fees. The Supreme Court referred this appeal to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge William B. Acree, Jr.
Originating Judge: Judge Jeffrey F. Stewart
Grundy County Workers Compensation Panel 12/09/16
United Parcel Services, Inc. v. James Wyrick, et al.
E2015-02523-SC-R3-WC
An employee was injured in the course and scope of his employment and became permanently and totally disabled. The employer filed a petition asking the trial court to determine the workers’ compensation benefits due the employee. The primary disputed issue was the extent of the employee’s disability that was attributable to the employer. The trial court ruled that the employer was responsible for 35 percent of the employee’s disability. After review, we hold the employer is responsible for 100 percent of the employee’s disability. We reverse the trial court’s judgment and remand for further proceedings.
 
Authoring Judge: Justice Sharon Lee
Originating Judge: Judge William T. Ailor
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 11/30/16
Lisa Patton v. Paris Henry County Medical Clinic
W2016-00203-SC-R3-WC

An X-ray technician sought workers’ compensation benefits for disability arising from migraine headaches she alleged were caused by exposure to chemicals at her workplace. Her employer denied the claim, asserting her condition did not arise out of and in the course and scope of her employment. The trial court held that the employee’s claim was compensable and awarded her permanent and total disability benefits. On appeal, the employer argues that the trial court erred in finding the employee’s claim was compensable and in awarding her permanent and total disability benefits. After careful review, we affirm the judgment.

Authoring Judge: Justice Sharon G. Lee
Originating Judge: Judge Donald E. Parish
Carroll County Workers Compensation Panel 11/30/16
Tony K. Gribble v. Alcoa Inc.
E2015-02113-SC-R3-WC

In this workers’ compensation case, the trial court found that the employee failed to carry his burden of proving that his knee injury arose out of his employment. On appeal, the employee asserts that the trial court erred in finding that his knee injury did not arise out of his employment. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Authoring Judge: Justice Sharon G. Lee
Originating Judge: Judge David Reed Duggan
Blount County Workers Compensation Panel 11/21/16
Carlos Martinez v. Steve Lawhon, et al
M2015-00635-SC-WCM-WC

An undocumented employee sustained a compensable work-related injury and reported the injury to the employer. Two doctors examined the employee, one assigning a 16% medical impairment rating and the other assigning a 24% medical impairment rating. Because of the employee’s undocumented status, the employer did not return the employee to work after the injury. The employee sought workers’ compensation benefits and challenged the constitutionality of the statutory provision potentially limiting his award to one and one-half times the medical impairment rating in such circumstances. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-241(e) (2008 & Supp. 2013). The Attorney General filed an answer defending the constitutionality of the challenged section. The trial court held the challenged statute unconstitutional on the basis of federal preemption and awarded permanent partial disability benefits of 84% to the left arm, or three and one-half times the 24% medical impairment rating. The Attorney General and the employer appealed. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Special Judge Patricia J. Cottrell
Originating Judge: Chancellor Russell T. Perkins
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 11/21/16
Mamie Marshall v. Pinnacle Food Group
W2015-00382-SC-R3-WC

Mamie Marshall (“Employee”) developed a gradual shoulder injury as a result of her work for Pinnacle Food Group (“Employer”). She underwent three surgeries and was eventually referred to a pain management specialist. After the third procedure, she was placed in a modified duty job. Two months after her return to work, she retired. Two of her treating physicians assigned 4% impairment to the body as a whole. Employee’s evaluating physician examined Employee on three occasions and assigned impairments of 7% to the body as a whole after the second surgery and 11% to the body as a whole after her retirement. A physician chosen from the Medical Impairment Registry (“MIR”) assigned 4% impairment to the body as a whole. The trial court found that Employee overcame the presumption of correctness attached to the MIR physician’s rating and adopted the evaluating physician’s 11% impairment. The trial court also found that Employee did not have a meaningful return to work and awarded 66% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole. Employer has appealed, contending the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s findings concerning impairment and meaningful return. The appeal was referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We modify the judgment.

Authoring Judge: Justice Roger A. Page
Originating Judge: Judge James F. Butler
Madison County Workers Compensation Panel 10/27/16
James Austin v. Roach Sawmill & Lumber Co.
W2015-02225-SC-WCM-WC

On June 27, 2013, James Austin (“Employee”) operated a piece of machinery in the course of his employment with Roach Sawmill & Lumber Company (“Employer”). The machine trapped his right hand, injuring Employee and resulting in the amputation of his right ring finger. In a post-injury drug screen, Employee tested positive for amphetamine, nordiazepam, oxazepam, temazepam and alpha-hydroxyalprazolam. Employer operated as a drug-free workplace program as described in Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-9-101 et seq. The trial court found that Employee did not rebut the presumption that the drugs were the proximate cause of his injury and dismissed the action. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-110(c)(1) (Supp. 2012). Employee appealed, asserting that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s decision. The Supreme Court referred this appeal to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment.

Authoring Judge: Judge William B. Acree, Jr.
Originating Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley
Hardin County Workers Compensation Panel 10/26/16
Selvin Calderon v. Auto Owners Insurance Company, et al.
M2015-01707-SC-R3-WC

Selvin Calderon (“Employee”) suffered a compensable injury to his spine when he fell from a two-story roof. The trial court found Mr. Calderon to be permanently and totally disabled and ordered Auto Owners Insurance Company (“Insurer”) to pay benefits and provide medical care for the injury. Seven months after entry of the judgment, Employee filed a “Motion to Compel Appropriate Medical Accommodations and Expenses and for an Award of Attorney’s Fees,” seeking to have Insurer pay the difference in rent between his present apartment and a wheelchair accessible residence and also for a bus pass to be used for daily activities unrelated to his disability. Insurer is willing and able to modify any apartment for wheelchair accessibility, and it provides transportation to Employee for his medical appointments. Insurer argued it is fulfilling its obligations under the workers’ compensation law. The trial court denied Employee’s motion, and he appealed. The appeal was referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Special Judge William B. Acree, Jr.
Originating Judge: Judge Hamilton V. Gayden, Jr.
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 10/24/16
David A. Mayes v. City of Tullahoma, Tennessee
M2015-01679-SC-R3-WC

David A. Mayes (“Employee”) suffered an injury to his left foot in April 2010 while working as a custodian for the City of Tullahoma, Tennessee (“Employer”). Employee’s injury occurred when he twisted his left foot while stepping off a high step. Despite undergoing two surgeries, Employee continued to experience pain associated with the injury and was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (“CRPS”). While being treated for his left foot injury, Employee fell and hurt his right foot, which also developed CRPS. Further, while recovering from these injuries, Employee became severely depressed. Based upon these physical and mental injuries, the trial court determined that Employee was permanently and totally disabled. Employer appealed, arguing that the trial court erred in its determination of permanent and total disability. Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, the appeal was referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Upon our review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment of the trial court. 

Authoring Judge: Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins
Originating Judge: Special Judge J. S. "Steve" Daniel
Coffee County Workers Compensation Panel 10/20/16
Terry Arnold v. Courtyard Management Corporation
W2015-02266-SC-WCM-WC

Terry Arnold (“Employee”) filed suit against Courtyard Management Corporation (“Employer”), alleging that she sustained a compensable injury to her neck on August 18, 2012. Employer provided medical and temporary partial disability benefits for a period of time. The last payment for medical treatment was issued on April 29, 2013. Employee requested additional medical treatment on May 5, 2014. Employer denied the claim based on the one-year statute of limitations. Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-203(b) , (c). Employee filed a request for assistance with the Department of Labor (“Department”) on May 7, 2014, and a request for benefit review conference (“BRC”) on May 13, 2014. The Department issued a “Benefit Review Report” on May 30, 2014. This action was filed on November 19, 2014. Employer filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that the claim was barred by the applicable statutes of limitation. The trial court denied Employer’s motion but granted Employer’s subsequent request for an interlocutory appeal. The Tennessee Supreme Court granted Employers’ application and referred the appeal to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We reverse the judgment.

Authoring Judge: Judge Brandon Gibson
Originating Judge: Judge Walter L. Evans
Shelby County Workers Compensation Panel 09/28/16
Joseph Corso v. Accident Fund Insurance Company, et al
M2015-01859-SC-R3-WC

Joseph Corso (“Employee”) was employed by D & S Remodelers, Inc., also known as Servpro (“Employer”). On September 29, 2011, he sustained a compensable injury to his left shoulder. While under treatment for that injury, Employee sustained an injury to his right shoulder. Employer denied that claim because of discrepancies about the date of injury. Employee continued to work for Employer until May 2013. However, he was reassigned from a production job to a sales position. He was subsequently terminated based on a customer complaint. The trial court found that the right shoulder injury was compensable and that Employee did not have a meaningful return to work. As a result of its finding that Employee did not have a meaningful return to work, the trial court awarded permanent partial disability benefits in excess of one and one-half times the medical impairment. Employer has appealed, contending that the trial court erred by incorrectly weighing the expert medical proof and by finding that Employee did not have a meaningful return to work. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins
Originating Judge: Judge Joseph P. Binkley, Jr.
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 09/02/16
Anniedene Waters V. General Motors, LLC
M2015-01429-SC-WCM-WC

An employee sought workers’ compensation benefits, alleging the advancement of the osteoarthritis in her right knee was primarily caused by her employment, and therefore, her employer was liable for medical treatment and disability benefits. The employer denied that the employee sustained a compensable work-related injury under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-102(12)(C)(ii) (Supp. 2011), because the pre-existing osteoarthritis did not arise “primarily out of and in the course and scope of employment.” The trial court concluded that the employee sustained a compensable injury and awarded temporary and permanent partial disability benefits. The employer has appealed, challenging the trial court’s application of Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-102(12)(C)(ii). Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, the appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. We affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Authoring Judge: Special Judge Paticia J. Cottrell
Originating Judge: Judge Stella Hargrove
Maury County Workers Compensation Panel 08/19/16