Workers Compensation Panel Opinions

Format: 11/20/2014
Format: 11/20/2014
Donna Forrester v. Oshkosh B'Gosh and Travelers Insurance Company
01S01-9511-JP-00206
Authoring Judge: Cornelia A. Clark, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Anthony L. Sanders
This worker's compensation appeal has been referred to the special worker's compensation appeals panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. _50-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Humphreys County Workers Compensation Panel 10/17/96
Helen Carroll v. Moore and Associates and Travelers Insurance Company
01S01-9512-CV-00221
Authoring Judge: William S. Russell, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: HON. JOHN W. ROLLINS, JUDGE
Carroll County Workers Compensation Panel 10/17/96
Juanita D. Bean 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. Bean $8,831.4 permanent partial disability benefits, representing forty-eight (48) weeks at the benefit rate of $183.98 per week, or twelve percent (12%) to the body as a whole; future medical expenses pursuant to the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act; and reasonable costs of Dr. Rodriguez services. The trial court also allowed attorneys fees of twenty percent (2%) of the award, in the amount of $1,766.21, 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 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. Bean 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. Bean 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 W orker's Compensation Act, even though no medical impairment rating was given by any of the
Franklin County Workers Compensation Panel 10/17/96
Thomas H. Hartley v. Snap-On Tools Corporation
03S01-9603-CH-00019
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 issue presented is whether the trial court erred in finding that the plaintiff sustained a 35 percent disability to his right arm as a result of a job-related accident. The standard of review is de novo on the record accompanied with the presumption that the judgment is correct unless the evidence otherwise preponderates. TENN. R. APP. P. 13(d); T.C.A. _ 5-6-225(e)(2). The parties stipulated that the "plaintiff had incurred work-related bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome." The finding of disability to the left arm is not contested on appeal; the defendant argues that a finding of 35 percent to the right arm is excessive. The treating physician, Dr. Gorman, testified that the plaintiff's right arm was asymptomatic following corrective surgery and without impairment. Dr. Eric Roberts was employed by the plaintiff's attorney to examine and evaluate the plaintiff. He is a board-certified physical medicine specialist. He testified that he performed extensive testing of the plaintiff, reviewed the voluminous medical reports and believed that the plaintiff had a 2 percent impairment to his right arm, based on AMA Guidelines. The deposition of Dr. Roberts is unusually lengthy, and we have considered it in depth. Henson v. City of Lawenceburg, 851 S.W.2d 89, 812 (Tenn. 1993). The plaintiff apparently had some non-job-related problems with his right elbow which are not fully recounted in the record. The defendant argues that most, if not all, of any impairment to the plaintiff's right arm is attributable to these problems of which both experts were aware and considered. While we are able to asses the weight of testoimony by deposition as well as the trial judge, It is not within our province to substitute our judgment for that of the trial judge; and we cannot find that the evidence preponderates against his finding that the plaintiff sustained a 35
Washington County Workers Compensation Panel 10/16/96
Greene County, Tennessee v. Lisa Ward, Jarrod Ward and Jordan Ward
03S01-9510-CH-00116
Authoring Judge: Roger E. Thayer, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Dennis H. Inman
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. These cases were instituted by Greene County, Tennessee, plaintiff, against the dependents of William Guy Ward, deceased, and Robert John Desormeaux, deceased, defendants, to determine whether the deaths of the two individuals are compensable under the Workers' Compensation laws of our state. The trial court determined the claims were not compensable as their deaths did not arise out of and in the course of their employment. Defendants have appealed insisting the evidence preponderates against this finding. William Guy Ward and Robert John Desormeaux were part-time auxiliary officers of the Greene County Sheriff's Department. They died as a result of an airplane crash on the night of July 11, 1994, at about 11: p.m. The airplane was being operated by Officer Desormeaux and Officer W ard was riding as a passenger. The record indicates auxiliary officers received limited training as compared to the training of a regular certified deputy sheriff. As auxiliary officers, they were scheduled to work twice a month for 8-16 hours, and this assignment was on weekends because the Sheriff's Department was usually busier at this time during the week. Auxiliary officers were always assigned to work with a regular certified deputy sheriff on patrol and were paid $5. per hour when performing scheduled work. The evidence indicates an auxiliary officer could work at other times with permission but would not be compensated for this work activity. Officers Ward and Desormeaux had been auxiliary officers for about one year, and their work activity with the Sheriff's Department had been riding with and assisting a regular deputy on patrol. As auxiliary officers, they were bonded deputies. The Auxiliary Organization Manual Of The Greene County Sheriff's Department provided auxiliary personnel shall follow the direction of full-time 2
Greene County Workers Compensation Panel 10/15/96
Shelby Williams Industries v. Alton Sane
03S01-9601-CH-00004
Authoring Judge: Roger E. Thayer, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Dennis H. Inman,
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, Shelby Williams Industries, Inc., instituted suit against Defendant, Alton Sane, seeking a determination as to whether the defendant had sustained a work-related injury which was compensable. The Chancellor found the claim to be compensable and fixed defendant's permanent partial disability at fifty percent to the body as a whole. The employer has appealed insisting the evidence is not sufficient to support the award and that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's findings. The employee is forty years old and has a twelfth-grade education. He testified he sustained an injury on July 12, 1994, while assembling chair backs; he was using a two-wheel dolly and, as he rolled it, a chair frame started to slide off and he attempted to catch it with the dolly in one hand and the frame in the other hand; while in this position, he felt a jolt in his low back; the next morning his legs tingled, and there was a numb feeling. He was seen at the hospital emergency room and was released; he also saw the company physician and later an orthopedic surgeon; he returned to work on August 3, 1994. The employee told the court he was injured again on October 7, 1994, while doing the same type work; he said, while in a twisted position, he bent over to get a chair seat; as he was reaching for the seat, he sneezed, and it felt like he had been shot; he saw the company doctor again and the orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed the problem as a ruptured disc; surgery was performed during November, 1994; and he had not been released to return to work as of the date of the trial on August 31, 1995. Dr. William Foster, an orthopedic surgeon, testified by deposition and stated he saw defendant shortly after both the July and October incidents; his opinion in July was that he had suffered a lumbar strain with a possible ruptured dis,c but he did not do further testing as his patient seemed to improve and returned to work; he 2
Hamblen County Workers Compensation Panel 10/15/96
Vanessa Phillips v. Pennsylvania National Insurance Company
03S01-9512-CV-00128
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Ben W. Hooper, Ii,
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 (1) that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that the employee suffered an injury by accident in the course of her employment, (2) that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that the employee's permanent impairment is causally related to her employment, (3) that the trial court erred in awarding medical expenses of an unauthorized provider, and (4) that the trial court abused its discretion with respect to the award of discretionary costs. The panel concludes that the judgment should be reversed, for the reasons set forth below. The employee or claimant, Vanessa Phillips, now Vanessa Dunkhase, is a thirty-three year old graduate of Jefferson County High School, who was employed as a boarder for Tennessee Machine & Hosiery. The employer manufactures socks, among other things. In the production process, damp socks are delivered in boxes or buggies to a pressing machine, where boarders remove them one at a time and place them on a form to be machine dried and pressed before being packaged for delivery and sale. On February 2, 1993, the claimant was treated by a dentist for an abscessed tooth. The next day, she asked to be excused from work, but the request was denied by the employer. After working a full shift for another employer, Hardee's, she reported to work at approximately 3:3 p.m. About an hour later, she ran to the bathroom crying. Another employee checked on her but she did not claim any work related injury. The co-worker summoned the claimant's supervisor, Jim Sullivan. The claimant told Sullivan that she was sick with an upset 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 10/15/96
Vanessa Phillips v. Pennsylvania National Insurance Company
03S01-9512-CV-00128
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Ben W. Hooper, Ii,
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 (1) that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that the employee suffered an injury by accident in the course of her employment, (2) that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that the employee's permanent impairment is causally related to her employment, (3) that the trial court erred in awarding medical expenses of an unauthorized provider, and (4) that the trial court abused its discretion with respect to the award of discretionary costs. The panel concludes that the judgment should be reversed, for the reasons set forth below. The employee or claimant, Vanessa Phillips, now Vanessa Dunkhase, is a thirty-three year old graduate of Jefferson County High School, who was employed as a boarder for Tennessee Machine & Hosiery. The employer manufactures socks, among other things. In the production process, damp socks are delivered in boxes or buggies to a pressing machine, where boarders remove them one at a time and place them on a form to be machine dried and pressed before being packaged for delivery and sale. On February 2, 1993, the claimant was treated by a dentist for an abscessed tooth. The next day, she asked to be excused from work, but the request was denied by the employer. After working a full shift for another employer, Hardee's, she reported to work at approximately 3:3 p.m. About an hour later, she ran to the bathroom crying. Another employee checked on her but she did not claim any work related injury. The co-worker summoned the claimant's supervisor, Jim Sullivan. The claimant told Sullivan that she was sick with an upset 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 10/15/96
Shelby Williams Industries v. Alton Sane
03S01-9601-CH-00004
Authoring Judge: Roger E. Thayer, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Dennis H. Inman,
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, Shelby Williams Industries, Inc., instituted suit against Defendant, Alton Sane, seeking a determination as to whether the defendant had sustained a work-related injury which was compensable. The Chancellor found the claim to be compensable and fixed defendant's permanent partial disability at fifty percent to the body as a whole. The employer has appealed insisting the evidence is not sufficient to support the award and that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's findings. The employee is forty years old and has a twelfth-grade education. He testified he sustained an injury on July 12, 1994, while assembling chair backs; he was using a two-wheel dolly and, as he rolled it, a chair frame started to slide off and he attempted to catch it with the dolly in one hand and the frame in the other hand; while in this position, he felt a jolt in his low back; the next morning his legs tingled, and there was a numb feeling. He was seen at the hospital emergency room and was released; he also saw the company physician and later an orthopedic surgeon; he returned to work on August 3, 1994. The employee told the court he was injured again on October 7, 1994, while doing the same type work; he said, while in a twisted position, he bent over to get a chair seat; as he was reaching for the seat, he sneezed, and it felt like he had been shot; he saw the company doctor again and the orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed the problem as a ruptured disc; surgery was performed during November, 1994; and he had not been released to return to work as of the date of the trial on August 31, 1995. Dr. William Foster, an orthopedic surgeon, testified by deposition and stated he saw defendant shortly after both the July and October incidents; his opinion in July was that he had suffered a lumbar strain with a possible ruptured dis,c but he did not do further testing as his patient seemed to improve and returned to work; he 2
Hamblen County Workers Compensation Panel 10/15/96
St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company and Lineal Group, Inc. v. Cecil Carrick
01S01-9509-CV-00146
Authoring Judge: Robert L. Childers, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Robert E. Corlew
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 Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff 85% permanent partial disability to the left lower extremity. Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant below appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in finding that the employee's testimonywas credible; that the employee failed to prove that he sustained a permanent injury which arose out of and in the course of his employment; that the employee failed to give proper notice of his injury; that the evidence does not support an award of 85% to the lower extremity; and that the medical treatment awarded by the trialcourt was unauthorized and should not have been allowed. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff worked at Samsonite for 3 years. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff's other work experience includes growing tobacco and peppers, raising cattle, and performing various odd jobs. Defendant/Counter- Plaintiff has a high school education and some training in electronics. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff's duties at Samsonite included counting and transferring chairs from one line to another. This involved shifting his weight from one leg to the other. It also involved spending long periods of time on his feet while working on a concrete floor. Because Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff suffered several strokes since the time of the injury and was unable to remember many of the specific facts surrounding his injury so as to be unavailable, the trial court relied on Defendant/Counter- Plaintiff's deposition testimony. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff was 55 years old on the date that he gave his deposition testimony. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff testified that he suffered from pain in his left knee. For four or five months prior tothe injury complained of, Defendant/Counter- Plaintiff's leg would swell from hip down to ankle. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff told his foreman about the problems with his legs
Rutherford County Workers Compensation Panel 10/10/96
St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company and Lineal Group, Inc. v. Cecil Carrick
01S01-9509-CV-00146
Authoring Judge: Robert L. Childers, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Robert E. Corlew
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 Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff 85% permanent partial disability to the left lower extremity. Plaintiff/Counter-Defendant below appeals, arguing that the trial court erred in finding that the employee's testimonywas credible; that the employee failed to prove that he sustained a permanent injury which arose out of and in the course of his employment; that the employee failed to give proper notice of his injury; that the evidence does not support an award of 85% to the lower extremity; and that the medical treatment awarded by the trialcourt was unauthorized and should not have been allowed. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff worked at Samsonite for 3 years. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff's other work experience includes growing tobacco and peppers, raising cattle, and performing various odd jobs. Defendant/Counter- Plaintiff has a high school education and some training in electronics. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff's duties at Samsonite included counting and transferring chairs from one line to another. This involved shifting his weight from one leg to the other. It also involved spending long periods of time on his feet while working on a concrete floor. Because Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff suffered several strokes since the time of the injury and was unable to remember many of the specific facts surrounding his injury so as to be unavailable, the trial court relied on Defendant/Counter- Plaintiff's deposition testimony. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff was 55 years old on the date that he gave his deposition testimony. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff testified that he suffered from pain in his left knee. For four or five months prior tothe injury complained of, Defendant/Counter- Plaintiff's leg would swell from hip down to ankle. Defendant/Counter-Plaintiff told his foreman about the problems with his legs
Rutherford County Workers Compensation Panel 10/10/96
Kenneth W. Leach v. Driver Power Leasing & Humboldt Express
01S01-9601-CV-00021
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Randolph A. Veazey,
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 10/10/96
Kenneth W. Leach v. Driver Power Leasing & Humboldt Express
01S01-9601-CV-00021
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Randolph A. Veazey,
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 10/10/96