Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Workers' Compensation Opinions

Format: 01/19/2017
Format: 01/19/2017
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
Memphis Light Gas and Water v. Chester Evans
W2015-01541-SC-WCM-WC

The appellant employee in this workers' compensation appeal worked for a municipal public utility as work crew leader. He filed suit against employer, alleging that he had sustained a gradual aggravation of pre-existing arthritis in his right knee, caused by the physical demands of his job. The employer denied the claim. The trial court found that the employee had not sustained his burden of proof that the aggravation was primarily caused by his work activities, as required by Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-102(12) (Supp. 2011). Judgment was entered in favor of the employer, and the employee appealed. The appeal was referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Authoring Judge: Justice Holly Kirby
Originating Judge: Judge Walter L. Evans
Shelby County Workers Compensation Panel 08/19/16
Vicki Russell v. Dana Corporation
M2015-00800-SC-R3-WC

In 1994, the employee received workers’ compensation benefits and future medical benefits for a work-related cervical spine injury and left carpal tunnel syndrome she sustained in 1991. The year after the employee received workers’ compensation benefits, the physician treating her work-related injury referred the employee to her primary care physician for continued treatment of her work injury. From 1995 to the present, the employee’s primary care physician has treated her work-related injury and other medical problems unrelated to her work. In 2010, the employee underwent two surgeries on her left shoulder and left knee unrelated to her work injuries. In June 2013, the employer filed a motion seeking an independent medical evaluation, which the trial court granted. After receiving the report from the evaluation, the employer filed motions seeking to “de-authorize,” or remove the employee’s treating physician and permission to provide a panel of three pain management physicians for the employee’s future medical treatment. The trial court denied the motions. The employer has appealed from that order. 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 reverse the judgment of the trial court and remand for proceedings consistent with this decision.

Authoring Judge: Special Judge Ben H. Cantrell
Originating Judge: Chancellor Charles K. Smith
Smith County Workers Compensation Panel 08/01/16
John E. Houston v. Conagra Foods Packaged Foods LLC
W2015-01257-SC-WCM-WC

John E. Houston (“Employee”) alleged he sustained a compensable injury to his back in June 2013. He initially sought medical treatment through his health insurer and told his doctors his injury occurred in the course of his employment at Conagra (“Employer”). When Employee submitted a claim for short-term disability benefits and FMLA leave through Employer, however, he stated his condition was not related to his employment. He ultimately had back surgery on August 22, 2013. On September 13, 2013, Employee gave notice of what he alleged to be a work-related injury to Employer by means of a letter from counsel. Employer denied the claim, based in part on the lack of timely notice. The trial court found Employee’s application for short-term disability benefits provided notice that Employer had an injured employee, and, had Employer conducted an investigation at that time, it would have become aware the injury was work related. The court determined notice, therefore, was timely. It awarded permanent partial disability benefits and entered judgment accordingly. Employer has appealed from that judgment. 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 the judgment.

Authoring Judge: Judge Rhynette N. Hurd
Originating Judge: Judge George R. Ellis
Gibson County Workers Compensation Panel 06/30/16
Craig Brueckheimer v. Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania et al.
M2015-01468-SC-R3-WC

Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, 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. In this pain management case, the employee received pain management treatment for more than ten years for a work-related injury pursuant to a judgment entered in November 2003. In April 2015, the employee’s treating physician advised him that he was retiring and moving to Florida, prompting the employee to contact his employer’s insurance carrier, who provided him with a panel of pain specialists two days later. The treating physician then made a referral to a different clinic to continue the employee’s treatment, so the employee declined to select a doctor from the panel while the insurance carrier declined to authorize the referred clinic. The employee filed a motion in the Circuit Court for Giles County, seeking to compel the insurance carrier to authorize treatment by the clinic. The trial court granted the motion and awarded attorney’s fees and travel expenses for a trip to Florida by the employee to see his previous physician. The insurance carrier has appealed, asserting that the trial court erred by granting the employee’s motion. We reverse in part and affirm in part the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Ben H. Cantrell
Originating Judge: Judge Stella L. Hargrove
Giles County Workers Compensation Panel 06/29/16
Damon Hawks v. Lisa Christian, et al.
M2015-02200-SC-R3-WC

In this workers’ compensation case, the employee sustained an injury in the course of his employment when he fell off a roof. His employer denied the employee’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-110 because the employee failed to use a required safety appliance. The trial court found that the employee provided a valid excuse for failing to wear the required equipment and awarded benefits. The employer has appealed. 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 reverse the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Special Judge Patricia J. Cottrell
Originating Judge: Chancellor Laurence M. McMillan, Jr.
Montgomery County Workers Compensation Panel 06/20/16
Demetrius D. Walton v. Colonial Freight Systems, Inc.
E2015-00088-SC-R3-WC

The workers' compensation claimant was an independent contractor for the defendant, a common carrier engaged in interstate commerce. The claimant and the defendant agreed that the defendant would provide workers' compensation coverage to the claimant based on Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-106(1)(B) (2012). The claimant was injured while driving a tractor trailer for the defendant. The claimant's claim for benefits was denied, and he sued for workers' compensation benefits. The defendant moved for summary judgment, asserting that the claimant's employment agreement was void because of alleged material misrepresentations made by the claimant regarding his physical condition during his pre-employment medical examination. The trial court granted the defendant's motion, based on its finding that the claim was barred by claimant's pre-employment material misrepresentations and Tennessee Code Annotated section 56-7-103 (2012). 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 under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We vacate the grant of summary judgment and remand to the trial court for further proceedings.

Authoring Judge: Justice Sharon G. Lee
Originating Judge: Chancellor Michael W. Moyers
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 05/06/16
Cynthia Elliott v. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
W2015-01752-SC-R3-WC

Cynthia Elliott (“Employee”) alleged that she sustained a compensable aggravation of her preexisting knee arthritis because of a fall that occurred in the course of her employment at Goodyear (“Employer”). Employer provided medical care for several months through its workers' compensation carrier but then denied the claim for right knee total replacement surgery as well as her claim for disability benefits, based on the opinion of the treating physician that the fall did not aggravate or advance the preexisting condition. Employee then had knee replacement surgery through her group healthcare insurance. The trial court received deposition testimony from three orthopaedic surgeons and medical records from several other doctors. It ruled that the fall at work had aggravated Employee's arthritis and awarded benefits. Employer has appealed, contending that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding of compensability. 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 James F. Russell
Originating Judge: Judge W. Michael Maloan
Weakley County Workers Compensation Panel 04/18/16
Gene Stamps Ex Rel. Estate of Marilyn Sue Stamps, et al v. Trinity Marine Productions, Inc., et al.
M2015-00373-SC-R3-WC

A widow filed suit seeking workers’ compensation death benefits for herself and her son, the stepson of the deceased worker.  She alleged that her husband’s death was caused by a lung disease contracted in the course of his employment.  The employer denied liability.  While the action was pending, the widow died.  An amended complaint was filed by her estate and her son.  The trial court granted the employer’s motion for summary judgment, holding that neither the estate nor the son had standing to sue for benefits.  The estate and son have 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 reverse the judgment and remand the case to the trial court for further proceedings.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Ben H. Cantrell
Originating Judge: Chancellor Carol L. McCoy
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 03/22/16