Workers Compensation Panel Opinions

Format: 12/26/2014
Format: 12/26/2014
Geneva Hicks v. Emerson Motor Company
02S01-9602-CH-00022
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. George R. Ellis,
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In this appeal, the employer contends the evidence preponderates against the findings of the trial court with respect to causation and permanency. The panel finds the preponderance of the evidence to be contrary to the finding of the trial court with respect to causation. The employee or claimant, Geneva Hicks, is 45 with an eleventh grade education. She has worked at a day care center, caring for small children, in a clothing factory and as a fruit packer. She has worked in various jobs for the employer, Emerson, since 198. She has suffered from hoarseness and shortness of breath at work since about 1992, for which she has seen numerous doctors. In the course of her work for Emerson, she was exposed to various fumes. The employer has attempted to accommodate her by transfer to different departments and by the use of fans. She finally commenced this action for workers' compensation benefits for a claimed occupational disease, which she labeled allergic bronchitis. She was referred by her attorney to Dr. A. Clyde Heflin, Jr., who saw her on several occasions and opined in his deposition testimony that she was possibly having asthmatic attacks at work. The doctor was given a list of chemicals and asked and answered as follows: Q. ...(A)t this point in time, do you have an opinion, based upon a reasonable degree of medical certainty, as to what connection this lady's job place has as to her asthmatic condition? A. The list of substances that I've been supplied have numerous items which are -- and maybe we need to regress a second. The workplace environment, as far as causing asthma, you have to understand that asthma we now consider to be this hyper-reactive or irritable state of the lungs; and that is caused or generated by someone or a substance causing what we call an inflammatory condition or direct irritation of the lungs. So there is a long list of substances now known in the workplace that actually can induce asthma; and the classic one of these are TDI's, or diasocyanates, which are used in the plastics industry, for instance. The epoxy resins, which I don't see here specifically listed, but are often used in electrical manufacturing, can cause this as well. 2
Gibson County Workers Compensation Panel 10/23/96
Geneva Hicks v. Emerson Motor Company
02S01-9602-CH-00022
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. George R. Ellis,
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In this appeal, the employer contends the evidence preponderates against the findings of the trial court with respect to causation and permanency. The panel finds the preponderance of the evidence to be contrary to the finding of the trial court with respect to causation. The employee or claimant, Geneva Hicks, is 45 with an eleventh grade education. She has worked at a day care center, caring for small children, in a clothing factory and as a fruit packer. She has worked in various jobs for the employer, Emerson, since 198. She has suffered from hoarseness and shortness of breath at work since about 1992, for which she has seen numerous doctors. In the course of her work for Emerson, she was exposed to various fumes. The employer has attempted to accommodate her by transfer to different departments and by the use of fans. She finally commenced this action for workers' compensation benefits for a claimed occupational disease, which she labeled allergic bronchitis. She was referred by her attorney to Dr. A. Clyde Heflin, Jr., who saw her on several occasions and opined in his deposition testimony that she was possibly having asthmatic attacks at work. The doctor was given a list of chemicals and asked and answered as follows: Q. ...(A)t this point in time, do you have an opinion, based upon a reasonable degree of medical certainty, as to what connection this lady's job place has as to her asthmatic condition? A. The list of substances that I've been supplied have numerous items which are -- and maybe we need to regress a second. The workplace environment, as far as causing asthma, you have to understand that asthma we now consider to be this hyper-reactive or irritable state of the lungs; and that is caused or generated by someone or a substance causing what we call an inflammatory condition or direct irritation of the lungs. So there is a long list of substances now known in the workplace that actually can induce asthma; and the classic one of these are TDI's, or diasocyanates, which are used in the plastics industry, for instance. The epoxy resins, which I don't see here specifically listed, but are often used in electrical manufacturing, can cause this as well. 2
Gibson County Workers Compensation Panel 10/23/96
Insurance Company of North America v. Ronnie Storie
01S01-9602-CV-00037
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Conrad E. Troutman,
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The issue presented by this appeal is whether the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that the employee's injury was proximately caused by intoxication. As discussed below, the panel has concluded the judgment should be reversed and the case remanded for an award of benefits. The claimant or employee, Storie, is forty-five years old and has an eighth grade education. On March 18, 1993, he reported to work at 6:3 p.m. at Kentucky Apparel to perform his usual duties as a maintenance mechanic. During the course of the shift, he needed to obtain some copper tubing and light bulbs to perform his duties. Those supplies were stored above a dropped ceiling above the maintenance office and accessible by a ladder and some loose boards. The claimant negotiated the ladder without a problem, but slipped and fell when one of the loose boards moved. He fell through the ceiling and onto a concrete floor in the men's rest room below, frightening a user, who beat a hasty exit and reported the accident. The claimant suffered multiple injuries, including a broken arm and back injury. We find in the record no direct evidence the claimant was intoxicated at the time. In fact, he had apparently performed his duties satisfactorily until the accident occurred. The injurious accident occurred shortly before 2:45 a. m. on March 19th. After some delay, he was driven to the Fentress County Hospital by a co-worker, arriving at about 3: a. m. When no doctor was available to treat his arm injury, he was transported to the Putnam County Hospital. When he arrived there at about 6:3 a. m., he smelled of alcohol and a blood alcohol test revealed an alcohol content of approximately .2 percent. The claimant insists he consumed the alcohol, retrieved from his own vehicle at the plant and provided by a friend while waiting for medical attention, after the accident, to help relieve pain associated with his injuries. The trial court disallowed the claim as being proximately caused by intoxication. Appellate review is de novo upon the record of the trial court, accompanied by a presumption of correctness of the findings of fact, unless the preponderance of the evidence is otherwise. Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6- 225(e)(2). This tribunal is required to conduct an independent examination of the record to determine where the preponderance of the evidence lies.
Fentress County Workers Compensation Panel 10/22/96
Robert Lively v. Textron, Inc.
01S01-9604-CH-00070
Authoring Judge: Robert S. Brandt, Senior Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Robert E. Corlew, III,
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 appeals from the trial court's finding that the permanent impairment did not result from 1992 injuries at Textron Aerostructures. Finding no error in the trial court's decision, we affirm. Dr. Wesley Coker started treating the plaintiff in March 1994 for herniated discs that were causing nerve root pressure. The plaintiff was in bad shape when he first saw him, according to Coker, as he had to be helped into the doctor's office and told the doctor about two months of excruciating pain. After switching to the care of a chiropractor, the plaintiff returned to Coker who performed surgery in June 1994. Dr. Coker testified that the plaintiff suffers a 13% whole body impairment. But Dr. Coker did not offer any testimony about what caused the plaintiff's back trouble. The issue in this case is whether the plaintiff established by a preponderance of the evidence that his impairment resulted from two injuries at Textron, one on March 5, 1992 and another on October 3, 1992. The trial court decided that the plaintiff did not prove his case, and there is ample evidence to support the decision. The plaintiff and his wife were injured in a car wreck on the way to work on the morning of February 1, 1994. The plaintiff had worked regularly before the accident, but did not work any after it. This tends to suggest that the car wreck, not the injuries years earlier, caused the back trouble Dr. Coker treated. The plaintiff called Textron following the wreck to report that he was not coming to work. The reason, he said, was that he slipped a disc in his back while -2-
Rutherford County Workers Compensation Panel 10/22/96
Stephen Baxendale v. Universal Underwriters Insurance
01S01-9605-CH-00097
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Irvin H. Kilcrease,
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In this appeal, the employee or claimant, Baxendale, contends (1) the award of permanent partial disability benefits is inadequate and (2) the trial court erred in computing his compensation rate. The employer and its insurer contend the trial court erred in finding the employee suffered a compensable injury by accident on June 6, 1994. As discussed below, the panel has concluded the award of permanent partial disability benefits should be modified and the judgment otherwise affirmed. The claimant is a thirty-five year old laborer with a ninth grade education. He failed a test for a GED. At the time of the claimed injury, he was earning $6.39 per hour. Beginning in October of 1992, he suffered back pain at work, but continued working while being conservatively treated for pain. At one time the treating physician assigned to him a four percent permanent whole person impairment rating. He was awarded permanent partial disability benefits based on ten percent to the body as a whole and returned to work as a laborer at the same wage rate he was earning before the injury. On June 6, 1994, he became disabled to work because of severe back pain and was diagnosed as having suffereda gradually developing ruptured disc. The doctor surgically removed the ruptured disc and estimated his permanent whole person impairment at nine percent, from appropriate guidelines. After recovering from the surgery, the claimant again returned to work at the same wage as before the disabling injury, but with significant lifting, bending, stooping and twisting restrictions. Another orthopedic surgeon evaluated the claimant and assigned a whole person impairment rating of ten percent, using different but equally appropriate guidelines. The claimant continued to suffer back pain while working as a warehouseman. Upon consideration of the above facts, the chancellor awarded permanent partial disability benefits on the basis of ten percent to the body as a whole for the June 6, 1994 injury, and fixed the claimant's compensation rate at $159.47 per week. Appellate review is de novo upon the record of the trial court, accompanied by a presumption of correctness of the findings of fact, unless the preponderance of the evidence is otherwise. Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(2). This tribunal is required to conduct an independent examination of the record to determine where the preponderance of the evidence lies.
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 10/22/96
Anthony Neal Bates v. Cooper Industries, et al.
01S01-9604-CV-00065
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Anthony Bates,
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In this appeal, the employer and its insurer contend the evidence preponderates against the award of permanent partial disability benefits. As discussed below, the panel has concluded the judgment should be affirmed. The employee or claimant, Bates, is thirty-six years old and a high school graduate. He has done nursery, construction, farming, factory and supervisory work. On September, 4, 1992, while lifting a thirty to forty pound box of coil springs to fill a customer's order, he strained his upper back. After a brief period of recuperation, during which he was treated conservatively by a neurological surgeon, he returned to work with weight lifting restrictions. On May 26, 1994, he strained his lower back in another lifting accident at work and was treated by the same doctor. The doctor again treated the claimant conservatively and returned him to work. The treating doctor and two others to whom he was referred, one an orthopedist and one a pain management specialist, assigned zero percent permanent impairment, using appropriate guidelines. The claimant was referred by his attorney or his family physician to another orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed cervical and lumbar sprain and assigned a five to ten percent permanent whole person impairment. The disagreement is over whether the injury is in "category one" or "category two," as defined by the guidelines, which involves "a judgment call." The claimant has been terminated because the employer was unwilling to offer him a job within his lifting restrictions. A vocational expert has estimated the claimant's industrial disability at fifty-five to sixty percent. The claimant's own testimony is that he is able to work at a job not requiring repetitive or heavy lifting. The trial court awarded permanent partial disability benefits based on forty-five percent to the body as a whole. Appellate review is de novo upon the record of the trial court, accompanied by a presumption of correctness of the findings of fact, unless the preponderance of the evidence is otherwise. Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(2). This tribunal is required to conduct an independent examination of the evidence to determine where the preponderance of the evidence lies.
DeKalb County Workers Compensation Panel 10/22/96
Rita Baker v. Ckr Industries, Inc.
01S01-9604-CV-00074
Authoring Judge: Robert S. Brandt, Senior Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Thomas W. Graham,
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 is employed by CKR Industries, a Winchester company that makes rubber windshield and door sealers for Nissan. A piece of plywood fell on her on January 4, 1993, and she filed suit alleging that as a result, she is totally, permanently disabled. The trial court found otherwise and ruled that she has no permanent disability. Because the trial court's finding is fully supported by the evidence, we affirm the decision. The minor nature of the accident is one factor supporting the trial court's decision. The four foot-by-eight foot single sheet of plywood surrounded by a metal frame was being used as a bulletin board and was standing next to where the plaintiff worked. It only fell one or two feet onto her shoulder. The plaintiff did not seek any medical treatment for several days. She never missed any work on account of the accident that she alleges left her totally and permanently disabled. She now works ten-to-twelve hours a day, five days a week. The most reliable medical evidence does not support her claim of permanent disability. He primary treating physician was Dr. Ray Fambrough, an orthopedic surgeon in Huntsville, Alabama. He diagnosed the plaintiff as having "subacromial impingement" which is nothing more than bursitis of the shoulder. Dr. Fambrough concluded that the blow to the plaintiff's shoulder did not in itself cause the bursitis, but that it exacerbated it. He testified that any impairment from the blow to the shoulder would be negligible. -2-
Franklin County Workers Compensation Panel 10/22/96
Pamela D. Millsap-Fann v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Company
03S01-9605-CH-00052
Authoring Judge: William H. Inman, Senior Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. G. 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 job-related accident from which the injury and disability arose occurred April 11, 1992. The case was heard January 12, 1996 resulting in a judgment that the plaintiff had sustained a 6 percent disability to her whole body. The employer appeals and presents for review the issue of whether the award is excessive. Our standard of review is de novo on the record accompanied with a presumption of the correctness of the judgment unless the evidence otherwise preponderates. TENN. R. APP. P. 13(d); T.C.A. _ 5-6-225. The application of this standard requires this Court to weigh in more depth the findings and conclusions of the trial courts in workers' compensation cases. Corcoran v. Foster Auto GMC, 746 S.W.2d 452, 456 (Tenn. 1988). The plaintiff was involved in a traffic accident during the course of her employment as a family counselor. Her most serious injury was a broken hip which required a prosthetic replacement by Dr. Thomas L. Huddleston, an orthopedic surgeon, who testified by deposition that the plaintiff had a 37_ percent permanent partial impairment to her left leg, extrapolated to 15 percent for the whole body. The plaintiff was 42 years old at the time of trial. She has a Master's Degree in her area of discipline. She was employed by the First Tennessee Human Resources Agency in November 199 as a HomeTies specialist and, following her surgery, she returned to work with no prescribed limitations or restrictions. The proof shows a litany of physical activities in which she may engage by way of demonstrating the extent and range of her recovery and present condition, which include but are not limited to driving a car, hiking, backpacking, playing tennis and performing all normal household functions. Her discharge summary was, "Her hip was free of pain . . . . the range of motion of her hip was excellent . . . ." Her immediate supervisor testified that she was able to perform all of her duties, and the
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 10/22/96
Ralph D. West v. Sonic Drive-In and Anco Interstate Insurance Company
01S01-9603-CH-00054
Authoring Judge: William H. Inman, Senior Judge
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. The plaintiff alleged that he injured his back on November 27, 1991 while employed as a cook. He sought medical treatment about one month later and in course was referred to Dr. Fonda Bondurant, an orthopedic surgeon in Lebanon, Tennessee, who performed a hemilaminectomy and discectomy on January 27, 1992. The surgery was successful, and the plaintiff was released to return to work on March 31, 1992. Utilizing the AMA Guidelines, Dr. Bondurant gave the plaintiff an impairment rating of eight percent "strictly because he had surgical intervention performed." This case has been twice tried. The first trial was held on April 19, 1993 and ended with a non-suit after the plaintiff and his wife testified. The second trial was held on October 4, 1994 resulting in a finding that the plaintiff had a 32 percent vocational impairment. The defendant appeals and presents for review the issues of notice, occurrence, injury and disability. An issue involving the admission of certain Social Security records is also presented. Our review is de novo on the record, accompanied with the presumption that the findings of fact of the trial court are correct unless the evidence otherwise preponderates. T.C.A. _ 5-6-225(e)(2). At the outset, we are constrained to observe that this 38-year-old man has testified three times; once upon discovery and twice in open court. His testimony is inconsistent and obviously underwent considerable fine-tuning during the interim between trials. The Chancellor expressed his dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the case, but in the end resolved the issues of notice and injury favorably to the plaintiff, chiefly because a reputable orthopedic surgeon took a history from the plaintiff two months after the injury and performed major corrective surgery on him. In any event the Chancellor is the best judge of the credibility of the plaintiff and we 2
Smith County Workers Compensation Panel 10/17/96
Shirley Diane Trail v. Royal Insurance Company and Ckr Industries, Inc.,
01SO1-9505-CH-00071
Authoring Judge: Robert L. Childers, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Jeffrey F. Stewart
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. Our review is de novo on the record accompanied by the presumption that the findings of fact of the trial court are correct unless the evidence preponderates otherwise. TENN. CODE ANN. _ 5-6-225(e)(2). The trial court awarded Ms. Trail $19,421. permanent partial disability benefits, representing one-hundreed (1) weeks at the benefit rate of $194.21 per week, or twenty-five percent (25%) to the body as a whole; and future medical benefits pursuant to the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act. The trial court also allowed attorneys fees of twenty percent (2%) of the award, in the amount of $3,884.2, to be paid in a lump sum. The Appellant contends that the trial court erred in: 1. Finding that a vocational disability based upon a permanent medical restriction, with medical testimony of no medical impairment rating in accordance with the A.M.A. Guidelines for Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, constitutes a compensable permanent partial disability under the Workers' Compensation Act. 2. Awarding permanent partial disability benefits to the Plaintiff that were excessive and against the weight of the evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. Ms. Trail filed her complaint in the Chancery Court for Franklin County, Tennessee, against her employer, Defendant CKR Industries, seeking to recover unpaid benefits under the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act for work-related injuries. Ms. Trail alleged that she suffered injuries as a result of exposure to chemicals in use at the CKR Plant. The case was consolidated with three (3) other cases for trial due to significant similarities in the cases. The opinion of the Court on the first issue is contained in the case of Angela K. Hill v. Royal Insurance Company and CKR Industries, Inc., No. 1S1-955-CH-71, filed simultaneously with this opinion. The Court held that the trial court did not err in finding that a vocational disability existed based upon the testimony of the medical experts that a permanent medical restriction existed which constitutes a permanent partial disability under the Worker's Compensation Act, even though no medical impairment rating was given by any of the
Franklin County Workers Compensation Panel 10/17/96
Kerry Alan Napier v. Cincinnati Casualty Insurance Company and North Central Telephone Cooperative
01S01-9604-CH-00063
Authoring Judge: William H. Inman, Senior Judge
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. The issue in this case is whether the award of 75 percent disability to the plaintiff's right hand is in accord with the preponderance of proof. Appellate review is confined to a review de novo on the record, accompanied by a presumption that the trial judge's findings of fact are correct unless the evidence otherwise preponderates. T.C.A. _ 5-6-225(e)(2). A concomitant rule is that we are as enabled as the trial judge to judge the probative worth of depositional testimony. Landers v. Fireman's Fund Ins. Co., 775 S.W.2d 355, 356 (Tenn. 1989). The plaintiff's job with the telephone company was that of a cable splicer and repairman. During the course of his employment, he sustained a laceration to the extensor tendon of his right hand, on October 25, 1994, involving the index, middle and ring fingers, which was repaired by Dr. Keith Morrison, an orthopedic surgeon in Bowling Green, Kentucky, under whose care he remained until February 22, 1995. On that date, Dr. Morrison noted: Mr. Napier is now 4 months status post extensor tendon repair on his right hand. Four tendons repaired to the index finger, slips to the middle and ring finger on the right hand. His EXAM today shows some improvement. He still lacks full extension on the index finger by about 2dg when his wrist is brought into extension. With the wrist in the flexed position, he has full extension of the hand. He has full flexion of all the digits with his only limitation being the lack of full extension on the index finger with his wrist in the above mentioned extension position. They would like to get a second opinion for insurance reasons so we are going to see him back in 1 month. At that time he will be 5 months out. I recommend tenolysis exploration. If he is still dissatisfied with the result. Overall, he has made a big improvement, having had no active extension of the fingers on repair. He remains neurovascularly intact. Otherwise, no loss of sensation. The plaintiff was later seen, on March 15, 1995 by Dr. Stephen Pratt, a specialist in reconstructive hand surgery, because of a 3 degree lag in the index finger. Further tendon repairs were undertaken to correct the lag. Dr. Pratt testified 2
Macon County Workers Compensation Panel 10/17/96
Johnny Jobe v. M. K. Ferguson and Second Injury Fund
03S01-9512-CV-00131
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. James B. Scott, Jr.,
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The issue in this appeal is whether the award of permanent disability benefits is excessive. As discussed below, we have concluded the judgment should be modified. The employee or claimant, Jobe, was 59 years old at the time of the trial. He has a ninth grade education and is a skilled carpenter, capable of reading plans and performing supervisory duties. On May 5, 1993, he fell at work and was slightly injured, but continued to work. On August 24, of the same year, he injured his lower back while lifting a cabinet at work. He was treated by Dr. David Hauge for a herniated lumbar disc from the second injury and a herniated cervical disc, possibly from the earlier injury. Dr. Hauge assigned a permanent impairment rating of seven percent to the whole body. Dr. Berta Bergia, whom the claimant saw for an examination and evaluation, assigned permanent impairment ratings of five percent for the cervical disc and ten percent for the lumbar disc. Dr. Bergia said the claimant should not do more than sedentary work. The claimant has not returned to work. The trial judge awarded permanent partial disability benefits based on thirty percent to the body as a whole for the May 5th injury and one hundred percent for the August 24th injury. Because the combined award totaled one hundred thirty percent, the employer was ordered to pay on the basis of one hundred percent and the remaining thirty percent was assessed against the 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 10/17/96
Angela K. Hill v. Royal Insurance Company and Ckr Industries, Inc.
01SO1-9505-CH-00071
Authoring Judge: Robert L. Childers, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Jeffrey F. Stewart
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special W orkers' 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. Our review is de novo on the record accompanied by a presumption that the findings of fact of the trial court are correct unless the evidence preponderates otherwise. TENN. CODE ANN. _ 5-6-225(e)(2). The trial court awarded Plaintiff Hill $16,212. permanent partial disability benefits, representing eighty (8) weeks at the benefit rate of $22.65 per week, or twenty percent (2%) permanent partial disability to the body as a whole; and future medical expenses pursuant to the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act. The trial court also allowed an attorneys fee of twenty percent (2%) of the award, in the amount $3,242.4, to be paid in lump sum. The appellant contends that the trial court erred in: 1. Finding that a vocational disability based upon a permanent medical restriction, with medical testimony of no medical impairment rating in accordance with A.M.A. Guidelines for Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, constitutes a compensable permanent partial disability under the Workers' Compensation Act. 2. Awarding permanent partial disability benefits to the Plaintiff that were excessive and against the weight of the evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. Ms. Hill filed the complaint in the Chancery Court for Franklin County, Tennessee, against her employer, Defendant CKR Industries, seeking to recover unpaid benefits under the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act for work-related injuries. Ms. Hill alleged that she suffered injuries as a result of exposure to chemicals in use at the CKR Plant. This case was consolidated with three (3) additional cases for trial due to significant similarities in the cases. At CKR, Ms. Hill worked as a Mucote sprayer. Mucote is a sealant, used to prevent rubber weather stripping from dryingout, and contains two solvents, toluene and methyl ethyl ketone. Ms. Hill began suffering from nose bleeds, difficulty in breathing, upset stomachs, and dizzy spells while at work. She complained to the human resources supervisor and safety and environmental coordinator about her symptoms and was moved to another position. When she was later returned to the spraying job,
Franklin County Workers Compensation Panel 10/17/96
Barbara Ann Holt v. Royal Insurance Company and Ckr Industries, Inc.
01SO1-9505-CH-00071
Authoring Judge: Robert L. Childers, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Jeffrey F. Stewart
This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special W orkers' 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. Our review is de novo on the record accompanied by a presumption that the findings of fact of the trial court are correct unless the evidence preponderates otherwise. TENN. CODE ANN. _ 5-6-225(e)(2). The trial court awarded Ms. Holt $13,196.8 permanent partial disability benefits, representing eighty (8) weeks at the benefit rate of $164.96 per week, or twenty percent (2%) to the body as a whole; and future medical benefits pursuant to the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act. The trial court also allowed attorneys fees of twenty percent (2%) of the award, in the amount of $2,639.36, to be paid in lump sum. The appellant contends that the trial court erred in: 1. Finding that a vocational disability based upon a permanent medical restriction, with medical testimony of no medical impairment rating in accordance with A.M.A. Guidelines for Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, constitutes a compensable permanent partial disability under the Workers' Compensation Act. 2. Awarding permanent partial disability benefits to the Plaintiff that were excessive and against the weight of the evidence. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. Ms. Holt filed her complaint in the Chancery Court for Franklin County, Tennessee, against her employer, Defendant CKR Industries, seeking to recover unpaid benefits under the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act for work-related injuries. Ms. Holt alleged that she suffered injuries as a result of exposure to chemicals in use at the CKR Plant. The case was consolidated with three (3) other cases for trial due to significant similarities in the cases. The opinion of the Court on the first issue is contained in the case of Angela K. Hill v. Royal Insurance Company and CKR Industries, Inc., No. 1S1-955-CH-71, filed simultaneously with this opinion. The Court held that the trial court did not err in finding that a vocational disability existed based upon the testimony of the medical experts that a permanent medical restriction existed which constitutes a permanent partial disability under the Worker's Compensation Act, even though no medical impairment rating was given by any of the medical experts.
Franklin County Workers Compensation Panel 10/17/96