Workers Compensation Panel Opinions

Format: 11/23/2014
Format: 11/23/2014
Robin Sloan v. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.
01S01-9509-GS-00157
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Barry Medley,
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 that the award of disability benefits is excessive; and the employee contends the trial court erred in finding that she did not suffer a disabling work-related neck injury. The panel has concluded that the judgment should be modified as provided herein. On July 5, 1992, the claimant, Robin Sloan, strained her back at work. She reported the injury to her employer and was referred to Dr. G. Jackson Jacobs, who referred her to Dr. David Bratton, an orthopedic surgeon, who, on July 15, 1992, diagnosed lumbar strain and released her to light duty for two weeks. She saw Dr. Daniel Phillips on October 23, 1992 and two other occasions. Dr. Phillips found no permanent disability to the claimant's back or neck caused by a work-related injury. Her attorney referred her to Dr. Richard Fishbein. Dr. Fishbein, on the strength of the history related to him by the claimant, agreed with the original diagnosis and assessed a permanent impairment of five percent to the whole body. The claimant is thirty-four years old witha high school educationand an associates degree in education from Motlow State Community College. She has experience in office work, as a restaurant manager and in business. She quit working for the employer shortly after the accident and was not working at the time of the trial. She was able to work, according to Dr. Bratton's note on and after July 15, 1992. The trial judge awarded permanent partial disability benefits on the basis of thirty-five percent to the body as a whole and temporary total disability benefits from July 5, 1992 to January 7, 1993. 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.
Warren County Workers Compensation Panel 07/08/96
Robin Sloan v. Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc.
01S01-9509-GS-00157
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Barry Medley,
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 that the award of disability benefits is excessive; and the employee contends the trial court erred in finding that she did not suffer a disabling work-related neck injury. The panel has concluded that the judgment should be modified as provided herein. On July 5, 1992, the claimant, Robin Sloan, strained her back at work. She reported the injury to her employer and was referred to Dr. G. Jackson Jacobs, who referred her to Dr. David Bratton, an orthopedic surgeon, who, on July 15, 1992, diagnosed lumbar strain and released her to light duty for two weeks. She saw Dr. Daniel Phillips on October 23, 1992 and two other occasions. Dr. Phillips found no permanent disability to the claimant's back or neck caused by a work-related injury. Her attorney referred her to Dr. Richard Fishbein. Dr. Fishbein, on the strength of the history related to him by the claimant, agreed with the original diagnosis and assessed a permanent impairment of five percent to the whole body. The claimant is thirty-four years old witha high school educationand an associates degree in education from Motlow State Community College. She has experience in office work, as a restaurant manager and in business. She quit working for the employer shortly after the accident and was not working at the time of the trial. She was able to work, according to Dr. Bratton's note on and after July 15, 1992. The trial judge awarded permanent partial disability benefits on the basis of thirty-five percent to the body as a whole and temporary total disability benefits from July 5, 1992 to January 7, 1993. 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.
Warren County Workers Compensation Panel 07/08/96
Mary Charmagne Perdue v. National Healthcorp, L.P., Or National Health Corporation, Or Nhc, Inc., And/Or Columbia Health Care
01S01-9508-CH-00142
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Jim T. Hamilton,
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, Perdue, contends (1) that the evidence preponderates against the trial judge's finding that she failed to give the required notice of a claimed injury by accident occurring on January 23, 1993, (2) that the said injury was suffered within the course and scope of employment with the defendant, and (3) that she is entitled to compensation for an injury on April 3, 1994. The panel concludes that the judgment awarding benefits for an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the claimant's employment in August of 1994 should be affirmed. The claimant is twenty-nine years old and has an associates degree in nursing. At all material times she was employed by the employer, Columbia, as a registered nurse. She claims to have strained her lower back in January of 1993 at work but continued to work. She did not give any written notice of the injury to the employer and there is conflicting evidence as to whether she verbally reported it. In April of 1993 she saw a chiropractor. On April 17, 1993, she noticed numbness in her hip and leg and began seeing Dr. Jeffrey Adams, who diagnosed a herniated lumbar disk. She did not tell the doctor that the condition was a result of an injury at work, according to the doctor, who performed corrective surgery. On August 5, 1993, the claimant was grabbed around the neck by a patient and pulled down to the patient's bed. Dr. Adams diagnosed a herniated disk at the same location as the previous one and performed a second corrective surgery. She has not returned to work.1 The trial judge found that, as to the claimed January injury, the claimant had failed to carry the burden of proof that her superiors at work had actual notice of her injury or that a work-related injury had occurred on that date.2 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). Where the trial judge has seen and heard the witnesses, especially if issues of credibility and weight to be given oral testimony are involved, considerable deference must be accorded those circumstances on review. McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 91 S.W.2d 1 The claimant had another surgery in 1994 by a different surgeon. 2 The trial judge did award medical and hospital benefits for the August injury, from which no issue has been raised in this appeal. 2
Maury County Workers Compensation Panel 07/08/96
Mary Charmagne Perdue v. National Healthcorp, L.P., Or National Health Corporation, Or Nhc, Inc., And/Or Columbia Health Care
01S01-9508-CH-00142
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Jim T. Hamilton,
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, Perdue, contends (1) that the evidence preponderates against the trial judge's finding that she failed to give the required notice of a claimed injury by accident occurring on January 23, 1993, (2) that the said injury was suffered within the course and scope of employment with the defendant, and (3) that she is entitled to compensation for an injury on April 3, 1994. The panel concludes that the judgment awarding benefits for an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of the claimant's employment in August of 1994 should be affirmed. The claimant is twenty-nine years old and has an associates degree in nursing. At all material times she was employed by the employer, Columbia, as a registered nurse. She claims to have strained her lower back in January of 1993 at work but continued to work. She did not give any written notice of the injury to the employer and there is conflicting evidence as to whether she verbally reported it. In April of 1993 she saw a chiropractor. On April 17, 1993, she noticed numbness in her hip and leg and began seeing Dr. Jeffrey Adams, who diagnosed a herniated lumbar disk. She did not tell the doctor that the condition was a result of an injury at work, according to the doctor, who performed corrective surgery. On August 5, 1993, the claimant was grabbed around the neck by a patient and pulled down to the patient's bed. Dr. Adams diagnosed a herniated disk at the same location as the previous one and performed a second corrective surgery. She has not returned to work.1 The trial judge found that, as to the claimed January injury, the claimant had failed to carry the burden of proof that her superiors at work had actual notice of her injury or that a work-related injury had occurred on that date.2 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). Where the trial judge has seen and heard the witnesses, especially if issues of credibility and weight to be given oral testimony are involved, considerable deference must be accorded those circumstances on review. McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 91 S.W.2d 1 The claimant had another surgery in 1994 by a different surgeon. 2 The trial judge did award medical and hospital benefits for the August injury, from which no issue has been raised in this appeal. 2
Maury County Workers Compensation Panel 07/08/96
Treva Milan v. Quebecor Printing (U.S.A.) Group and Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Company
01S01-9601-CV-00005
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Hon. James E. Walton
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 arms and wrists while working for defendant in April 1994. The trial judge awarded her 35 percent permanent partial disability to each upper extremity. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. Plaintiff was working on an assembly line, feeding magazine pages into a sorter, when a wooden pallet slid onto her arms, causing pain. She was placed on light duty and wore wrist splints for at least a month, but when she returned to full duty, she had a recurrence of pain, numbness and tingling. Dr. W. Cooper Beazley, orthopedic surgeon, diagnosed plaintiff with overuse syndrome in both hands and told her to consider changing to a job where she would not have to perform rapid, repetitious work with her hands. However, he did not assess any medical impairment under AMA Guidelines because the Guides do not provide for a permanent impairment rating for overuse syndrome. Dr. Lloyd Walwyn, orthopedic surgeon, conducted an independent medical examination including objective testing. He diagnosed cumulative trauma disorder with mild bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and assessed 28 percent permanent partial impairment to each upper extremity. The employer made efforts to put plaintif f back to work with her post-injury limitations, but there was no work available at the factory that she was able to do. Plaintiff is 26 years old with a high school education and work experience mostly in factory work. The trial judge found that the injury plaintiff sustained reduced her ability to compete in the open job market because it permanently affected her use of her hands. He also found her testimony that she has pain to be convincing.
Montgomery County Workers Compensation Panel 07/08/96
Treva Milan v. Quebecor Printing (U.S.A.) Group and Lumbermens Mutual Casualty Company
01S01-9601-CV-00005
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Hon. James E. Walton
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 arms and wrists while working for defendant in April 1994. The trial judge awarded her 35 percent permanent partial disability to each upper extremity. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. Plaintiff was working on an assembly line, feeding magazine pages into a sorter, when a wooden pallet slid onto her arms, causing pain. She was placed on light duty and wore wrist splints for at least a month, but when she returned to full duty, she had a recurrence of pain, numbness and tingling. Dr. W. Cooper Beazley, orthopedic surgeon, diagnosed plaintiff with overuse syndrome in both hands and told her to consider changing to a job where she would not have to perform rapid, repetitious work with her hands. However, he did not assess any medical impairment under AMA Guidelines because the Guides do not provide for a permanent impairment rating for overuse syndrome. Dr. Lloyd Walwyn, orthopedic surgeon, conducted an independent medical examination including objective testing. He diagnosed cumulative trauma disorder with mild bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and assessed 28 percent permanent partial impairment to each upper extremity. The employer made efforts to put plaintif f back to work with her post-injury limitations, but there was no work available at the factory that she was able to do. Plaintiff is 26 years old with a high school education and work experience mostly in factory work. The trial judge found that the injury plaintiff sustained reduced her ability to compete in the open job market because it permanently affected her use of her hands. He also found her testimony that she has pain to be convincing.
Montgomery County Workers Compensation Panel 07/08/96
Sherry Lawrence v. Erin Truckways, Ltd. d/b/a Digby Truck Line, Inc., and The Travelers Insurance Company
01S01-9512-CV-00216
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Walter C. Kurtz,
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 1% permanent vocational disability. Defendants challenge the trial court's finding of permanent impairment and the trial court's finding of 1% permanent vocational disability. We find that the evidence preponderates in favor of a finding of a compensable permanent injury. We find, however, that the evidence preponderates against an award of 1% permanent vocational disability. W e find the evidence preponderates in favor of a finding of 75% permanent partial vocational disability. We so modify the judgment of the trial court and, as modified, affirm it. Plaintiff, 41, has a tenth-grade education. Her past work history includes work as a waitress, bartender, factory worker and a truck driver. On October 3, 199, plaintiff and her husband were driving for defendant when plaintiff fell from the truck cab as she was trying to open a partially stuck passenger door. She was diagnosed with a sprain to the right upper back and right neck and admitted to the hospital for an unstable diabetic condition. She was also visited by a psychiatrist while at the hospital for depression and sleeplessness. Since her injury, plaintiff has developed chronic pain in her neck and back and eventually in her lower back. She never returned to work for the defendant but, in 1992, she began working as a bartender. She quit after ten months due to pain. Plaintiff was first treated by Dr. Gurumurthy Reddy, an orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed a neck and upper back strain and noted muscle spasm and limitation of range of motion of the neck. He last saw her on January 31, 1991, when he diagnosed myofascial neck and upper back pain and released her to return to work on a trial basis. Plaintiff was eventually treated by Dr. Dennis Aguirre, an anesthesiologist. He diagnosed fibromyalgia in August 1993. He testified that fibromyalgia is a 2
Lawrence County Workers Compensation Panel 07/08/96
Sherry Lawrence v. Erin Truckways, Ltd. d/b/a Digby Truck Line, Inc., and The Travelers Insurance Company
01S01-9512-CV-00216
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Walter C. Kurtz,
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 1% permanent vocational disability. Defendants challenge the trial court's finding of permanent impairment and the trial court's finding of 1% permanent vocational disability. We find that the evidence preponderates in favor of a finding of a compensable permanent injury. We find, however, that the evidence preponderates against an award of 1% permanent vocational disability. W e find the evidence preponderates in favor of a finding of 75% permanent partial vocational disability. We so modify the judgment of the trial court and, as modified, affirm it. Plaintiff, 41, has a tenth-grade education. Her past work history includes work as a waitress, bartender, factory worker and a truck driver. On October 3, 199, plaintiff and her husband were driving for defendant when plaintiff fell from the truck cab as she was trying to open a partially stuck passenger door. She was diagnosed with a sprain to the right upper back and right neck and admitted to the hospital for an unstable diabetic condition. She was also visited by a psychiatrist while at the hospital for depression and sleeplessness. Since her injury, plaintiff has developed chronic pain in her neck and back and eventually in her lower back. She never returned to work for the defendant but, in 1992, she began working as a bartender. She quit after ten months due to pain. Plaintiff was first treated by Dr. Gurumurthy Reddy, an orthopedic surgeon, who diagnosed a neck and upper back strain and noted muscle spasm and limitation of range of motion of the neck. He last saw her on January 31, 1991, when he diagnosed myofascial neck and upper back pain and released her to return to work on a trial basis. Plaintiff was eventually treated by Dr. Dennis Aguirre, an anesthesiologist. He diagnosed fibromyalgia in August 1993. He testified that fibromyalgia is a 2
Lawrence County Workers Compensation Panel 07/08/96
Brenda Gail Ward v. United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company
03S01-9509-CH-00109
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Billy Joe White,
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's insurer contends the evidence preponderates against the award of permanent disability benefits. The panel concludes the judgment should be reversed and the cased dismissed. The only issue litigated at trial was the extent of the claimant's permanent disability, if any. On February 19, 1993, the employee or claimant, Brenda Gail Ward, was sweeping a floor for her employer, United Parcel Service, when she suddenly slipped and fell, injuring her back, neck and shoulder. On April 7, 1993, she visited Dr. David Hauge, who treated her until January 26, 1994. Dr. Hauge diagnosed chronic degenerative changes unrelated to the above accident. His diagnosis was confirmed by an MRI of the spine. He found no evidence of an acute injury, except some muscle spasm which was resolved with physical therapy. He estimated her permanent impairment from her degenerative changes at nine percent to the whole body, but provided no proof of medical causal connection to the work-related accident. Approximately two years after the accident, the claimant was evaluated by Dr. William E. Kennedy, who found no permanent anatomical injury or change as a result of the work-related accident, but assessed her permanent impairment from her subjective complaints of pain at eight percent to the whole person. A vocational expert, Norman Hankins, estimated her industrial disability at between thirty-four and sixty-one percent, depending on her physical restrictions. The chancellor 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 the trial court, 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.
Campbell County Workers Compensation Panel 06/25/96
Anna Lue Mckamey v. Red Kap Industries
03S01-9505-CH-00053
Authoring Judge: William H. Inman, Senior Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Frank V. Williams, 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 to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The appellant suffered a stroke while working on an assembly line. Substantial disability resulted, which she alleges is compensable as being accident- related. The trial judge disagreed, and she appeals. Our review is de novo, with the presumption that the judgment is correct unless the evidence otherwise preponderates. TENN. CODE ANN. _ 5-6-225(e)(2). Mrs. McKamey is 49 years old, with limited skills and education. Her assembly-line job involved the sewing of shirt collar stays, which may be fairly described as repetitive and monotonous. On May 12, 1992, while working the 7: a.m. to 3:3 p.m. shift, she suffered a stroke shortly before the end of her shift which resulted in total vocational disability. She alleges that, like all other employees, she was expected to make production, with its attendant pressures and tensions, which caused or contributed to the stroke. Causation is the dispositive issue. The proof revealed that Mrs. McKamey had been suffering from hypertension for years and had been regularly taking medication for that disease since 1988. She had smoked cigarettes since age 14; at the time of her stroke, she smoked more than twenty per day. Responding to a hypothetical question, Dr. John Purvis, a neurosurgeon, testified that the sewing of hundreds of collar stays during a regular shift could be a contributory factor to the cerebral accident, depending upon a resolution of certain factors, those being arteriosclerosis and hypertension, the former being aggravated or caused by smoking which "played a part" and contributed to her pre-existing condition. The inducing causes of her stroke was the rupture of a blood vessel. After reviewing a videotape of the assembly-line workers, Dr. Purvis testified as -2-
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 06/25/96
Joseph Jarreau v. Vanliner Insurance Company
01S01-9512-CH-00228
Authoring Judge: Per Curiam
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Bobby Capers,
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. This appeal presents the questions whether and under what circumstances, if any, an injured worker may give up his right to future medical expenses. The panel concludes the trial court's judgment, approving a settlement in which the right to future medical expenses was voluntarily surrendered for consideration, should be affirmed. The employee or claimant, Jarreau, commenced this civil action by filing a complaint for workers' compensation benefits, averring that he had suffered an injury by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment by Ozark Motor Lines, Inc. The complaint further averred, in relevant part, that his injury had been diagnosed as a tear of the left medial meniscus, that he had reached maximum medical recovery and would retain a permanent impairment but that there was a genuine dispute as to the extent of his permanent disability. He sought to recover medical and permanent partial disability benefits. Vanliner Insurance Company served its answer admitting it was the insurer for Ozark, but denying that the claimant had suffered a compensable injury or that he was permanently disabled. On September 8, 1994, before the case could be tried, the claimant and his attorney and the attorney for Vanliner appeared before Judge Capers seeking approval of a negotiated settlement. By the settlement terms, the claimant was to receive $25,459.2, representing a permanent partial disability of forty percent to the left leg, and an additional $9,54.8 in consideration of the claimant's relinquishment of any claim for future medical benefits, for a total of $35,.. Additionally, the claimant had already received $15,481.3 in medical benefits and $12,481.3 in temporary total disability benefits. We find in the record no transcript of the settlement hearing, but Judge Capers found that Dr. Robert V. Russell had opined the claimant had reached maximum medical improvement and would retain a permanent anatomical impairment of ten percent to the leg. The judge further found the settlement to be in the best interest of the claimant, "in light of the controversy and dispute between the parties." The agreement was approved as a full, final and complete settlement of Mr. Jarreau's claim against the employer and its insurer. Almost eight months later, on April 28, 1995, the claimant applied to the court, per Tenn. R. Civ. P. 6.2, for an order setting aside the settlement 2
Wilson County Workers Compensation Panel 06/25/96
Debbie G. Farrow v. Phillips Consumer Electronics Company
03S01-9508-CV-00089
Authoring Judge: Joe C. Loser, Jr., Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Wheeler Rosenbalm,
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, Farrow, contends the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that her injury did not arise out of her employment. The panel concludes that the judgment should be reversed and the case remanded for an award of benefits. On October 6, 1993, the claimant was injured while she was hurriedly walking from her work station to the cafeteria at the start of a ten minute break period. She had almost reached the stop of a stairway when she came down hard on her foot, injuring her knee. She suffered internal knee derangement, according to the operating surgeon. The trial judge found that the injury occurred in the course of employment, but did not arise out of the employment, as required. 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). Conclusions of law are subject to de novo review without any presumption of correctness. Presley v. Bennett, 86 S.W.2d 857 (Tenn. 1993). Generally, an injury arises out of employment if it has a rational causal connection to the work; and any reasonable doubt as to whether an injury arose out of the employment or not is to be resolved in favor of the employee. Hall v. Auburntown Industries, Inc., 684 S.W.2d 614 (Tenn. 1985); White v. Werthan Industries, 824 S.W.2d 158 (Tenn. 1992). Where an employee is injured on the employer's premises during a break period provided by the employer, such an injury is generally compensable. Wellington v. John Morrell and Co., 619 S.W.2d 116 (Tenn. 1981); Drew v. Tappan Co., 63 S.W.2d 624 (Tenn. 1982); Holder v. Wilson Sporting Goods Co., 723 S.W.2d 14 (Tenn. 1987). The rule is derived from the notion that an employer who directs or permits his employees to eat at a place provided for that purpose or otherwise within the premises, owes such employees the same duty of protection from danger there that it does at the place where the employees work. Johnson Coffee Co. v. McDonald, 143 Tenn. 55, 226 S.W. 215 (192). On the strength of those authorities, the panel finds that the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding and in favor of a finding that the claimant's injury is compensable. The judgment of the trial court is accordingly reversed and the case remanded to the trial court for an award of benefits. Costs on appeal are taxed to the defendant-appellee. 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 06/25/96
Farhad Yasin Sorani v. Royal Insurance Company of America and Kenco Plastics, Inc.
01S01-9510-CH-00179
Authoring Judge: Ben H. Cantrell, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Jane W Heatcraft, 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 to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial judge awarded compensation to the worker based on 5% permanent partial disability to both arms. Because we find that the evidence preponderates against the award, we modify it to 25% disability to both arms. I. Mr. Sorani, an Iraqi Kurdish refugee, went to work for Kenco Plastics, Inc. on or about February 1, 1994. His duties included gripping and cutting plastic, and involved repetitive hand movements. On May 16, 1994 he went to the Sumner County Regional Medical Center complaining of soreness in his left arm. He was diagnosed with tendonitis and put on light duty for seven days. On June 24, 1994 Mr. Sorani consulted an orthopaedic specialist for pain and numbness in both hands. An examination resulted in a diagnosis of bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. On July 2, 1994 he was referred to another specialist, for complaints of numbness and tingling in the fingers of both hands. This specialist confirmed the carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis and concluded that it was caused or aggravated by the work at Kenco Plastics. The doctor treated Mr. Sorani conservatively until October 28, 1994 when he performed carpal tunnel release surgery on the right hand. Following the surgery, Mr. Sorani suffered from an involuntary "triggering" movement in the ring finger on his right hand. His doctor thought that the condition would improve on its own if he was given three weeks rest. The doctor - 2 -
Sumner County Workers Compensation Panel 06/20/96
Farhad Yasin Sorani v. Royal Insurance Company of America and Kenco Plastics, Inc.
01S01-9510-CH-00179
Authoring Judge: Ben H. Cantrell, Special Judge
Trial Court Judge: Hon. Jane W Heatcraft, 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 to the Supreme Court of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The trial judge awarded compensation to the worker based on 5% permanent partial disability to both arms. Because we find that the evidence preponderates against the award, we modify it to 25% disability to both arms. I. Mr. Sorani, an Iraqi Kurdish refugee, went to work for Kenco Plastics, Inc. on or about February 1, 1994. His duties included gripping and cutting plastic, and involved repetitive hand movements. On May 16, 1994 he went to the Sumner County Regional Medical Center complaining of soreness in his left arm. He was diagnosed with tendonitis and put on light duty for seven days. On June 24, 1994 Mr. Sorani consulted an orthopaedic specialist for pain and numbness in both hands. An examination resulted in a diagnosis of bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome. On July 2, 1994 he was referred to another specialist, for complaints of numbness and tingling in the fingers of both hands. This specialist confirmed the carpal tunnel syndrome diagnosis and concluded that it was caused or aggravated by the work at Kenco Plastics. The doctor treated Mr. Sorani conservatively until October 28, 1994 when he performed carpal tunnel release surgery on the right hand. Following the surgery, Mr. Sorani suffered from an involuntary "triggering" movement in the ring finger on his right hand. His doctor thought that the condition would improve on its own if he was given three weeks rest. The doctor - 2 -
Sumner County Workers Compensation Panel 06/20/96