Workers Compensation Panel Opinions

Format: 11/23/2014
Format: 11/23/2014
Lisa Whited v. Tn. Woolen Mills, Inc., et al.
01S01-9605-CH-00088
Authoring Judge: Senior Judge John K. Byers
Trial Court Judge: Hon. C. K. Smith
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Plaintiff injured her right arm, shoulder and neck while working on an assembly line at defendant's woolen mill. The trial court awarded her 5 percent permanent vocational disability. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. At the time of trial, plaintiff was 27 years old with a high school education and a variety of work experience, including fast food clerk, grocery store clerk, newspaper deliverer, tobacco stripper, and factory worker. All of these jobs have required steady use of her hands and arms. On August 1, 1994, plaintiff was sitting in a chair at her sewing work station when she found that a blanket she was working on was hung on a cart. As she pulled the blanket, it snagged. She pulled firmly and when the blanket came loose, she "snapped back in her chair," and felt pain in her right arm, shoulder and neck. She was referred by defendant to Dr. Johnson, who gave her physical therapy and medication and, after having no success, referred her to another company- approved physician, Dr. Roy Clarence Terry, an orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Terry testified by deposition that he performed an arthroscopy and removed the ends of two bones in plaintiff's shoulder which were impinging on each other. Although plaintiff improved after surgery, she remained unable to fully raise her right arm, to lift things above her head, or to move her arm in all directions. She has continued to have severe pain in the arm. Dr. Terry discovered that she also had a symptomatic disc herniation in her neck, caused by the same accident. He assessed nine percent permanent partial disability to the body as a whole. She was totally unable to work when he last saw her, in June 1995, but he expected that with time she would be able to work with limitations. Defendant asked Dr. Leon Ensalada, a medical doctor who is board-certified 2
White County Workers Compensation Panel 01/17/97
Larry R. Williams v. Scott Bolt & Screw Co., et al.
01S01-9604-CH-00077
Authoring Judge: Robert S. Brandt, Senior Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Ellen Hobbs Lyle,
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The plaintiff filed suit alleging that a brown recluse spider bit him while he was at work on April 15, 1993. The trial court denied his claim. Because the evidence does not support the plaintiff's claim, the trial court decision is affirmed. The plaintiff testified that his left leg started itching at work at about 2: p.m. on April 15 or maybe April 19, he is not sure which. At any rate, in his deposition the plaintiff testified that the next thing he noticed was a sore knee the following morning, but he did not pay much attention to it. He testified differently at trial. The plaintiff and his live-in girlfriend both testified they saw a red mark on his knee when he undressed after work the afternoon the itching stared. In any event, the pain started the next morning. The plaintiff went to work and worked almost all day. The pain got bad toward quitting time, and the employer encouraged the plaintiff to see a doctor. He did, and eventually came under the care of two Vanderbilt doctors, Phillip Wolinsky, an orthopedic surgeon, and Bruce Shack, a plastic surgeon. Neither of them know whether a brown recluse spider bite caused the plaintiff's wound. But it was serious whatever caused it, and the plaintiff suffers permanent impairment as a result of it. The doctors' testimony contradicts the plaintiff's claim that a brown recluse spider bit him at work. Dr. Wolinsky does not know much about brown recluse spider bites, and what little he does know and shared in his deposition does not support the plaintiff's claim. According to Wolinsky, the literature referred to by the plaintiff's counsel indicates that while a bite may not cause any immediate pain, some localized pain develops within an hour or so. -2-
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 01/17/97
Premier Manufacturing, et al. v. Patricia Cothran
01S01-9605-CV-00102
Authoring Judge: Robert S. Brandt, Senior Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. William B. Cain,
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial court found that the plaintiff failed to carry her burden of proving that she sustained a permanent disabling injury, a finding based upon assessing the credibility of the witnesses. Given the considerable deference we must give to the trial court's credibility determinations, McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 91 S.W.2d 412 (Tenn. 1995) and the presumption of correctness of the trial court's findings, Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-225(e)(2), we affirm the trial court's decision. The plaintiff worked for Premier Manufacturing Support Services, Inc., a contractor at the Spring Hill Saturn automobile assembly plant. The company performed a variety of services for Saturn, including cleaning the interiors of buildings and maintaining the grounds. The plaintiff worked at several inside and outside jobs before she sought and received a job driving cars off the assembly line. On January 14, 1994, the car the plaintiff was driving backed into a light pole. She was taken to a Columbia hospital where she was treated and released. The company sent the plaintiff to Dr. Larry Laughlin, an orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed her as having back and neck strain. He referred her to Pinnacle Rehabilitation for physical therapy. On the plaintiff's second visit to Laughlin, he conducted a test that indicated that the plaintiff was magnifying her symptoms. The finding of a MRI was normal. Pinnacle conducted a symptom magnification test on the plaintiff, and she scored a four out of five, which means positive for symptom magnification. Laughlin testified that he could not find any significant problems with the plaintiff and he found no permanent impairment. He placed no physical restrictions on her work. -2-
Maury County Workers Compensation Panel 01/17/97
Barbara Jenkins v. Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Company
01S01-96021-CR-00036
Authoring Judge: Senior Judge William S. Russell
Trial Court Judge: Hon. J.O. BOND, JUDGE
Macon County Workers Compensation Panel 01/17/97
Martha Ann Boyd v. Lincoln Brass Works, Inc.
01S01-9604-CV-00062
Authoring Judge: Senior Judge William S. Russell
Trial Court Judge: Hon. WILLIAM B. CAIN, JUDGE
Wayne County Workers Compensation Panel 01/17/97
Karen J. Baker v. Hca Health Services of Tn.
01S01-9605-CV-00098
Authoring Judge: Senior Judge John K. Byers
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Barbara Haynes
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. Plaintiff sought benefits for an occupational disease. The trial court granted defendant's summary judgment based on TENN. CODE ANN. _ 5-6-36, finding that plaintiff failed to file her complaint within the one-year statute of limitations. We reverse the trial court's decision and remand the case to the trial court for a hearing on the merits. Plaintiff is a registered nurse who has worked for defendant for over twenty years. In the spring of 1992, while working as a post-anesthesia care unit (PACU) nurse, she began experiencing symptoms of what was diagnosed in the summer of 1992 as a sensitivity to latex. She was required to wear latex gloves and work around them daily, but because she wanted to continue to work, she tried, with the help of her employer, to avoid latex exposure at work. These efforts were unsuccessful, and she continued to have allergic reactions when she was near latex. Injury reports were filed by her supervisor on several occasions, including June 3, 1992, January 26, 1994 and March 31, 1994, when plaintiff had these allergic reactions to latex at work. On April 5, 1994, plaintiff's physician told her that she could no longer work as a PACU nurse because of her allergy to latex, which was becoming more severe, and because she could not avoid exposure with that job. In May, 1994, her employer placed her in a new position as admission assistant nurse, at the same wage, where she would not be in contact with latex. However, this position was eliminated In December, 1994 and she was then placed in an administrative position at a lower wage. Plaintiff filed her complaint on November 14, 1994. The trial court held: 2
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 01/17/97
Emma J. Toy v. American General Life & Accident Ins. Co. and National Union Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh
01S01-9604-CH-00071
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Irvin H. Kilcrease,
This case is before the Court upon the entire record, including the order of referral to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel, and the Panel's Memorandum Opinion setting forth its findings of fact and conclusions of law, which are incorporated herein by reference.
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 01/03/97
Mary Potts v. Tridon, Inc. & Royal Ins. Co.
01S01-9604-CH-00064
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Hon. William B. Cain, Judge
This case is before the Court upon a motion for review pursuant to Tenn. Code Ann. _ 50-6-225(e)(5)(B), the entire record, including the order of referral to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel, and the Panel's Memorandum Opinion setting forth its findings of fact and conclusions of law, which are incorporated herein by reference
Lawrence County Workers Compensation Panel 01/03/97
Connie Drennon v. Waldenbook, Inc.
01S01-9510-CV-00184
Authoring Judge: Senior Judge William S. Russell
Trial Court Judge: Hon. ROBERT E. CORLEW
Rutherford County Workers Compensation Panel 01/03/97
William Valdez, & Miguel Pineda v. Lang Environmental
01S01-9605-CH-00085
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Robert S. Brandt,
This case is before the Court upon the entire record, including the order of referral to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel, and the Panel's Memorandum Opinion setting forth its findings of fact and conclusions of law, which are incorporated herein by reference.
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 12/19/96
Theresa Webb v. The Quaker Oats Company
02S01-9603-CH-00029
Authoring Judge: F. Lloyd Tatum, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge:
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation. Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Madison County Workers Compensation Panel 12/19/96
Johnny Ownby v. National American Insurance Company
03S01-9604-CV-00037
Authoring Judge: Senior Judge John K. Byers
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Rex Henry Ogle,
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with TENN. CODE ANN. _ 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial court awarded plaintiff 48% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole at a compensation rate of $266.66 per week. Defendant challenges the amount of disability awarded, the compensation rate applied and certain discretionary costs awarded. Plaintiff, 37, graduated from high school. Most of his work experience has been in heavy construction labor. He testified that he injured his lower back on July 4, 1994, while digging up an asphalt driveway and loading the asphalt chunks onto a truck for defendant's insured. He worked on light duty until October but has not worked since October.1994. Plaintiff was treated by Alan L. Whiton, M.D., an orthopedist, who testified in this case by deposition. He opined that plaintiff had a disruption or internal cracking of L4-L5 based upon the results of a discogram. He assigned plaintiff a five percent permanent impairment rating to the body as a whole according to the AMA Guides. George B. Brooks, D.O., a family practitioner, examined the plaintiff at the request of his attorney. He diagnosed degenerative disc disease with radiculopathy at L4-5 by history. He assigned a ten percent impairment rating according to the American Orthopedic Academy guidelines. He testified that he would not disagree with Dr. Whiton's five percent impairment rating but that he also considered that plaintiff had over six months of subjective complaints of pain. He further testified that some portion of his impairment rating was attributable to degenerative changes that predated plaintiff's work-related injury, but he could not apportion it. Fred A. Killefer, M.D., neurosurgeon, examined plaintiff at the request of the defendant. He found no objective signs of a permanent injury and opined that plaintiff had a normal spine with subjective complaints of pain. He further opined 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 12/19/96
Wesley Eddins, Sr. v. North American Rayon Corporation
03S01-9602-CH-00016
Authoring Judge: Roger E. Thayer, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. J. Richard Johnson,
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The employer, North American Rayon Corporation, has appealed from the trial court's award of permanent disability benefits to plaintiff, Wesley Eddins, Sr. The Chancellor fixed the award at 45% to the body as a whole. Two issues are presented on appeal. First, the employer contends the trial court was in error in allowing temporary total disability benefits. Second, it is argued plaintiff did not incur any permanent disability as a result of the alleged work-related injury. Plaintiff is 29 years of age and is a high school graduate. He has been going to college for about two years attempting to rehabilitate himself for other types of employment. His college work would classify him as a sophomore. On about October 11, 1991, he was injured while at his work station when the floor gave away causing him to fall some distance below. He said the fall injured his back and he had immediate pain up and down his spinal cord and pain in his neck and legs. He continued to work for about two weeks until his condition became worse; at one point, he testified, he could not move his legs; the company doctor took him off work duties on about November 8, 1991, and he had not returned to work as of the date of the trial on September 25, 1995; his chief complaint has been massive muscle spasms; he told the court his condition did not improve much until August-September 1994. The record indicates he has seen many doctors, some have testified extensively in this proceeding and others appear in the record by medical reports, letters, etc., identified as collective exhibit #1. The review of the case is de novo accompanied by a presumption of the correctness of the findings of fact unless we find the preponderance is otherwise. T.C.A. _ 5-6-225(e)(2). 2
Washington County Workers Compensation Panel 12/19/96