Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Workers' Compensation Opinions

Format: 05/22/2020
Format: 05/22/2020
Memphis Light Gas & Water Division v. John Pearson
W2018-01511-SC-WCM-WC

The employee appeals from the trial court’s denial of workers’ compensation benefits. The employee asserted that a slip and fall suffered at work aggravated pre-existing degenerative conditions in his left shoulder and neck, causing injuries that are compensable under Tennessee’s workers’ compensation laws. After a trial, the trial court reviewed the testimony at length and held that the employee had failed to establish a compensable injury. The employee’s appeal has been referred to this Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for oral argument and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. Discerning no error, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Justice Holly Kirby
Originating Judge: Judge JoeDae L. Jenkins
Shelby County Workers Compensation Panel 02/26/20
Estate of Clarence Turnage, Et Al. v. Dole Refrigerating Co., Inc.
M2019-00422-SC-R3-WC

On August 3, 2017, Clarence Turnage (“Employee”) died as a result of injuries arising out of and in the course of his employment with Dole Refrigerating Co., Inc. (“Employer”).  Employee was unmarried at the time of his death, but resided with and had a child
out-of-wedlock with Megan Black.  It was undisputed that this child, EJT, is entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits as a conclusively presumed wholly dependent child under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-210(a)(2).  Employee had two additional children out-of-wedlock, NRT and SMT, with another woman.  However, prior to his death, Employee had surrendered his parental rights to NRT and SMT, and his mother had adopted these children.  NRT and SMT sought workers’ compensation death benefits as either conclusively presumed wholly dependent children of Employee under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-210(a)(2), or, alternatively, as partial dependents of Employee under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-210(d).  The Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims determined that NRT and SMT are not entitled to benefits as conclusively presumed wholly dependent children or as partial dependents.  The court awarded EJT benefits equal to fifty percent (50%) of Employee’s average weekly wage.  The court denied the motions of the guardians ad litem for EJT and for NRT and SMT for attorney’s fees and deferred any fee determination until after an appeal.  NRT and SMT appealed the decision of the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims.  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.  We award attorney’s fees on appeal to the guardian ad litem for EJT and remand the case to the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims for a determination of the amount of such fees, together with a determination of what, if any, fees are to be awarded to the guardians ad litem for the prior proceedings in that court.

Authoring Judge: Chief Justice Jeffrey S. Bivins
Originating Judge: Judge Dale A. Tipps
Workers Compensation Panel 02/12/20
James Ivy v. Memphis Light Gas & Water Division
W2019-00104-SC-R3-WC

Employee fell onto his buttocks during the course and scope of his employment with Employer and experienced left hip and shoulder pain that later radiated to his right leg. After a course of treatment, the selected treating physician and a second-opinion physician opined Employee’s pain was attributable to a degenerative condition rather than to his work injury and assigned no impairment. Because the pain persisted, Employee’s personal physician referred him to an orthopedic surgeon who opined Employee’s fall ruptured a synovial cyst which aggravated his pre-existing spine condition. The orthopedic surgeon performed surgery and later assigned a twelve percent (12%) impairment rating. A physician who conducted an independent medical records review at Employer’s request sided with the selected physician as to causation and impairment; however, a physician who performed an independent medical examination at Employee’s request agreed with the orthopedic surgeon. Following a trial, the court awarded benefits having determined that Employee met his burden of establishing causation and overcame the statutory presumption afforded the selected physician’s causation opinion. 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 trial court’s judgment.

Authoring Judge: Judge Robert E. Lee Davies
Originating Judge: Judge Felicia Corbin Johnson
Shelby County Workers Compensation Panel 01/31/20
Brenda Merriweather v. UGN, INC., ET AL.
W2018-02094-SC-R3-WC

Brenda Merriweather (“Employee”) alleged she injured her left knee in the course and scope of her employment with UGN, Inc. (“Employer”). Following the trial, the trial court determined Employee did not satisfy her burden of proving causation and therefore dismissed the case. Employee appeals. 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: Judge Don R. Ash
Originating Judge: Chancellor James F. Butler
Madison County Workers Compensation Panel 01/28/20
Floyd McCall v. Ferrell Paving Co. ET AL.
W2018-01676-SC-WCM-WC

Floyd McCall (“Employee”) was a truck driver for Ferrell Paving (“Employer”). The parties stipulated that Employee sustained an injury arising out of and in the course and scope of employment on October 6, 2014, and that Employee gave timely notice of the injury. Employee received authorized medical treatment for the injury, paid for by Employer. Employee also received temporary total disability benefits for the period October 7, 2014 to February 5, 2015. Employee did not return to work for Employer following the injury. After being released from his authorized treating physician, Employee subsequently received unauthorized treatment, including surgery on his cervical spine. Employee filed this action seeking additional past temporary disability and medical benefits, permanent partial disability benefits, and future medical benefits. The Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims determined that Employee was not entitled to any additional workers’ compensation benefits. Employee has appealed that decision. 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 William B. Acree, Jr.
Originating Judge: Judge Amber E. Luttrell
Workers Compensation Panel 01/22/20
Darla McKnight v. Hubbell Power Systems, Et Al.
M2019-00205-SC-R3-WC

Employee filed a motion asking the trial court to require Employer to provide additional treatment for a work-related injury she suffered in March 2007. The trial court granted Employee’s motion and denied Employer’s motion to appoint a neutral physician. Employer’s appeal has been referred to this Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 51, '1.  After reviewing the evidence in the record and the parties’ arguments, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.    

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Don R. Ash
Originating Judge: Judge J. Russell Parkes
Maury County Workers Compensation Panel 12/19/19
Roger Joiner v. United Parcel Services, Inc., Et Al.
M2018-01876-SC-WCM-WC

Roger Joiner (“Employee”) sustained an injury to his neck while lifting a mailbag in the course of his employment with United Parcel Service, Inc. (“Employer”) on February 26, 2016. Employer provided medical benefits, but subsequently limited those benefits to treatment of the injury at the C6-7 level of Employee’s cervical spine.  Employer refused to authorize treatment and denied benefits for injury at the C5-6 level of Employee’s cervical spine based on the opinion of his treating physician.  After a compensation hearing, the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims (the “trial court”) concluded that the causation opinion of Employee’s medical evaluator overcame the statutory presumption afforded the causation opinion of his treating physician. The trial court determined that Employee was entitled to medical benefits for treatment of his injures at the C5-6 and C6-7 levels and to permanent partial disability benefits based on medical impairment attributable to both levels.  Employer appealed to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, which reversed the trial court’s decision, with one judge concurring in part and dissenting in part.   Employee has appealed that ruling.  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 decision of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.

Authoring Judge: Judge Amy V. Hollars
Originating Judge: Judge Joshua Davis Baker
Workers Compensation Panel 12/06/19
Ronald Brantley v. Mike Brantley, et al.
E2018-01793-SC-R3-WC

In 2009, Ronald Brantley (“Employee”) settled a workers’ compensation claim with Brantley Excavating (“Employer”) regarding a hand injury he sustained during the course and scope of his employment. Employee returned to his authorized treating physician in 2017, seeking medication for pain he was experiencing in his injured hand. The diagnostic test results were normal. The treating physician declined to prescribe pain medication and offered no further treatment. Employee subsequently moved to compel Employer to provide a panel of pain management physicians, claiming the treating physician had made a referral. The trial court concluded the treating physician did not make a referral and denied Employee’s motion, citing Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-204(j)(2)(A). 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 of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Judge William B. Acree
Originating Judge: Judge Elizabeth C. Asbury
Campbell County Workers Compensation Panel 11/06/19
Michael McCloud v. Charter Communications, Inc.
W2018-02166-SC-R3-WC

The trial court found that Employee was permanently and totally disabled following a work-related injury to his back in January 2012. Employer’s appeal has been referred to this Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 51, § 1. After reviewing the evidence in the record and the parties’ arguments, we conclude that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court’s decision and affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Authoring Judge: Judge Mary L. Wagner
Originating Judge: Judge James F. Butler
Madison County Workers Compensation Panel 10/24/19
Deborah L. Bain v. UTI Integrated Logistics LLC, et al
W2018-00840-SC-WCM-WC

Deborah Bain (“Employee”) worked for UTI Integrated Logistics LLC (“Employer”) as a shuttle truck driver. She sustained a compensable injury to her right shoulder and right wrist in August 2010 and entered into a settlement agreement with Employer. After returning to work, she suffered an injury to her left shoulder in January 2013. The trial court found that Employee is not permanently and totally disabled, that the 1.5 times cap applies for purposes of both reconsideration of the August 2010 injury and assessment of the January 2013 injury, that she has a 6% medical impairment rating for the January 2013 injury, and that Employer is not responsible for expenses related to treatment she sought on her own. Employee has appealed these rulings. Employer has appealed the trial court’s award of further temporary total disability benefits. 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: Senior Judge William B. Acree, Jr.
Originating Judge: Judge Charles C. McGinley
Benton County Workers Compensation Panel 10/16/19
Bradley Harlow v. Love's Travel Stops et al.
E2018-01905-SC-R3-WC

An employer appeals a trial court’s award of workers’ compensation benefits, arguing that the employee failed to rebut the presumption of correctness afforded to the authorized treating physician about causation and that the trial court should have capped any permanent partial disability benefits under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50 6 241(d)(1)(A). This appeal was 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. After careful review, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Authoring Judge: Justice Sharon Lee
Originating Judge: Judge Duane Slone
Jefferson County Workers Compensation Panel 10/14/19
Richard Moser v. Hara, Inc. D/B/A Hot Shot Delivery, Et Al.
M2018-02045-SC-R3-WC

Richard Moser (“Employee”) worked for Hara, Inc. d/b/a Hot Shot Delivery (“Employer”) as a truck driver. Employee filed this action against Employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier, Auto-Owners Insurance Company, alleging that he sustained a compensable injury in August 2013, when he attempted to pull a duffel bag out of his truck. Employer asserts that the injury occurred in August 2014, when Employee used a crank to lower the landing gear on a trailer. In its defense, Employer specifically asserts that Employee’s failure to provide adequate notice of the 2014 injury contravenes his claim for compensation. Employee concedes he did not provide adequate notice of the 2014 injury. The trial court found that Employee suffered a compensable injury in August 2013 during the course and scope of his employment and retained a permanent anatomical impairment of 25% to the body as a whole as a result of the 2013 injury. Employer has appealed that decision. 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 William B. Acree
Originating Judge: Judge Joe P. Binkley
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 09/25/19
Cheryl Lynn Williams v. SWS LLC d/b/a Securewatch
E2018-00922-SC-R3-WC

Cheryl Lynn Williams (“Employee”) alleged that she sustained a compensable injury and/or an occupational disease as a result of exposure to mold during the course and scope of her employment with SWS LLC d/b/a SecureWatch (“Employer”). Employer filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that the one-year statute of limitations barred Employee’s claim. The trial court granted the motion and dismissed the case. 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. Having determined that genuine issues of material fact exist concerning the commencement of the statute of limitations, we reverse the judgment and remand for proceedings on the merits.

Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Originating Judge: Judge William T. Ailor
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 09/20/19
Teresa Adams v. Rich Products Corporation
W2018-00288-SC-R3-WC

Teresa Adams (“Employee”), a general laborer at Rich Products Corporation (“Employer”) developed carpel tunnel syndrome in both hands. After two separate surgeries, Employee developed bilateral hand stiffness and deformity of her fingers. Due to the disparity between the impairment ratings assigned by her treating physician and the Independent Medical Examination (“IME”) physician, Employer sought review through the Medical Impairment Rating Registry (MIR) program. The MIR physician opined that Employee suffered from inflammatory arthritis unrelated to her employment. The IME physician disagreed with the MIR physician’s impairment rating and diagnosed Employee with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (“CRPS”). The trial court found that Employee rebutted the presumed accuracy of the MIR physician’s impairment rating by clear and convincing evidence. Employer has appealed alleging that the accurate impairment rating presumption was not rebutted. 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 Robert E. Lee Davise
Originating Judge: Judge Joedae Jenkins
Shelby County Workers Compensation Panel 08/30/19
Natchez Trace Youth Acadamy Et Al v. Christopher Tidwell
M2018-01311-SC-R3-WC

Christopher Tidwell (“Employee”) suffered facial injuries during the course of his employment at Natchez Trace Youth Academy (“Employer”) while restraining a resident during an altercation. Employee filed this workers’ compensation claim alleging both physical and psychological injuries resulting from the incident. After a trial, the court concluded Employee did not make a meaningful return to work and awarded benefits for physical and psychological injuries, using a 4.85 multiplier. Employer has appealed, claiming the trial court erred in concluding Employee failed to make a meaningful return to work; in awarding additional temporary benefits; in determining Employee suffered a compensable psychological injury; and in awarding certain discretionary costs. 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 award of benefits beyond the statutory 1.5 cap, additional temporary benefits, and its finding of psychological injury. We reverse the award of certain discretionary costs.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Robert E. Lee Davies
Originating Judge: Judge Larry J. Wallace
Humphreys County Workers Compensation Panel 08/16/19
Carol Nolan v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., ET AL.
W2018-01382-SC-R3-WC

Carol Nolan (“Employee”) was employed by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (“Employer”). The trial court found that Employee was permanently and totally disabled following work-related injuries to her back and knees in April 2011. The trial court apportioned 85% liability of the award to Employer and 15% to the Tennessee Second Injury Fund. Employer has appealed the trial court’s finding that Employee is permanently and totally disabled and the apportionment of liability for permanent and total disability benefits. Employer’s appeal has been referred to this 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. After review, we conclude that the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court’s decision. Therefore, we affirm the trial court’s judgment.

Authoring Judge: Judge William B. Acree, Jr.
Originating Judge: Judge W. Michael Maloan
Obion County Workers Compensation Panel 08/16/19
Corey Bunton v. Sanderson Pipe Corp. Et Al.
M2018-01028-SC-R3-WC

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. This case arises out of an injury sustained by Corey Bunton (“Employee”) while working at Sanderson Pipe Corporation (“Employer”).  Employee’s hand became trapped in a beller machine which resulted in Employee losing a finger and sustaining permanent damage to his hand.  Employee claimed he turned the machine off prior to placing his hand into the machine to clean a pipe.  However, Employer presented evidence challenging Employee’s claim that he turned off the machine.  Employer argued by failing to turn off the machine, Employee committed willful misconduct which barred any recovery.  The trial court found Employee did not turn off the machine and therefore committed willful misconduct.  Employee appealed arguing the trial court erred in its willful misconduct analysis.  Employer also cross-appealed arguing that Tennessee Compilation Rules and Regulations 0800-02-21-.7 (2016) is unconstitutional. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Authoring Judge: Chief Justice Jeffery S. Bivins
Originating Judge: Judge Kenneth M. Switzer
Workers Compensation Panel 08/14/19
Tennessee Clinical School, LLC, D/B/A Hermitage Hall v. Jeffrey E. Johns
M2018-00985-SC-R3-WC

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. The trial court entered a final order that Employee was entitled to benefits. The trial court found that Employer failed to prove willful misconduct under Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-110(a)(1) because Employer failed to prove bona fide enforcement of its policy and that Employee had a valid subjective belief for violating said policy. We reverse the trial court’s finding that Employer failed to prove bona fide enforcement of its policy, but we affirm the trial court’s finding that Employee did not willfully violate Employer’s policy. As a result, we affirm the trial court’s judgment in favor of the Employee.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Robert E. Lee Davies
Originating Judge: Chancellor Russell T. Perkins
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 08/02/19
Duwan Duignan v. Stowers Machinery Corp. et al.
E2018-01120-SC-R3-WC

The issue in this appeal is whether the evidence preponderates against the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims’ judgment that the employee is permanently and totally disabled due to his work-related injury. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, in a 2-1 decision, reversed and remanded for a determination of the amount of permanent partial disability. Mr. Duignan appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which referred the appeal to this Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 51, § 1. We hold the evidence does not preponderate against the trial court’s judgment. Therefore, the decision of the Appeals Board is reversed and the judgment of the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims is reinstated.

Authoring Judge: Judge Don R. Ash
Originating Judge: Judge Pamela B. Johnson
Workers Compensation Panel 06/19/19
Kenneth M. Wright v. National Strategic Protective Services, LLC et al.
E2018-01019-SC-R3-WC

Kenneth M. Wright was employed by National Strategic Protective Services, LLC, as a security officer at the Department of Energy, Oak Ridge facility. While participating in a training exercise, he injured his neck, which required surgery. The trial court found Mr. Wright was entitled to increased permanent partial disability benefits pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-207(3)(B) and then awarded extraordinary benefits pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-242(a)(2). The employer has appealed the award of extraordinary benefits. 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 Robert E. Lee Davies
Originating Judge: Judge Lisa A. Lowe
Workers Compensation Panel 05/23/19
Ameenah House v. Amazon.Com, Inc.
E2017-02183-SC-R3-WC

An employee filed workers’ compensation claims against her employer for alleged work-related back and leg injuries. The Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims (the trial court) ruled against the employee, finding that the employee failed to show that her alleged injuries were work-related. The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board affirmed the trial court’s decision. The employee appealed. This appeal was 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. After careful consideration, we affirm the judgment of the Appeals Board and adopt its opinion as set forth in the attached Appendix.

Authoring Judge: Justice Sharon Lee
Originating Judge: Judge Thomas L. Wyatt
Workers Compensation Panel 05/16/19
Shirley Keen v. Ingles Markets, Inc.
E2018-00306-SC-R3-WC

In 1997, an employee sustained a workers’ compensation injury. In 1999, the chancery court approved a settlement of the claim, which in part required the employer to pay for reasonable and necessary future medical treatment. In 2016, the employer declined to provide certain treatment based on the results of a utilization review under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-124. The chancery court granted the employee’s motion to compel the medical treatment and held in abeyance her request for attorney fees under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-204(b)(2). The employee filed a second motion to compel because of a dispute about whether the first order to compel required the employer to provide the employee with a particular medication. The chancery court granted the second motion to compel and awarded the employee attorney fees, but in a lesser amount than the employee had requested. Both parties appealed. The employee contends that the chancery court erred in awarding attorney fees by failing to make findings based on the factors in Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 8, Rule of Professional Conduct 1.5(a) (RPC 1.5(a)). The employer contends the chancery court erred by granting the second motion to compel treatment. 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 under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We vacate the chancery court’s award of attorney fees and remand for a determination of attorney fees in accordance with the factors set forth in RPC 1.5(a). We affirm the chancery court’s judgment granting the second motion to compel.

Authoring Judge: Justice Sharon Lee
Originating Judge: Chancellor Elizabeth C. Asbury
Campbell County Workers Compensation Panel 05/14/19
Jerry Coleman v. Armstrong Hardwood Flooring Company ET AL.
W2017-02498-SC-R3-WC

In this appeal from the judgment of the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims, the employer and its insurer argue that the employee did not establish by a preponderance of the evidence that his injury arose primarily out of the course and scope of his employment, and that the employee’s physician expert did not use an appropriate method to opine on the impairment rating for the employee’s right ear. Discerning no error, we affirm.

Authoring Judge: Justice Holly Kirby
Originating Judge: Judge Allen Phillips
Workers Compensation Panel 04/12/19
Ricky Armstrong v. Armstrong Hardwood Flooring Company
W2018-00427-SC-R3-WC

Ricky Armstrong (“Employee”) alleged that he injured his lower back, neck, and left shoulder in the course and scope of his employment with Armstrong Hardwood Flooring Company (“Employer”). The trial court determined that Employee was permanently and totally disabled. Employer’s 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: Judge William B. Acree
Originating Judge: Judge James F. Butler
Madison County Workers Compensation Panel 04/05/19
Salvador Sandoval v. Mark Williamson, Et Al.
M2018-01148-SC-R3-WC

Salvador Sandoval (“Employee”), an undocumented immigrant, suffered an injury while working for Tennessee Steel Structures (“Employer”). The parties settled the claim, and Employee failed to return to work at the end of the initial compensation period. Employee now seeks additional permanent disability benefits pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated 50-6-207(3)(B) because Employee cannot return to work after the injury as he is not eligible or authorized to work in the United States under Federal Immigration Law. Employee challenges the constitutionality of Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-207(3)(F) which does not allow for additional benefits set forth in subdivision (3)(B) for any employee who is not eligible or authorized to work in the United States. The Court of Workers’ Compensations Claims held that it had no jurisdiction to make this determination and denied Employee’s request for increased benefits. Employee appealed. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel pursuant to Tennessee Rule of the Supreme Court 51 section 1. We affirm the judgment of the trial court and hold that Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-207(3)(F) is constitutional.

Authoring Judge: Senior Judge Robert E. Lee Davies
Originating Judge: Judge Joshua Baker
Workers Compensation Panel 03/28/19