Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 05/05/2015
Format: 05/05/2015
Crum vs. Lawing
03A01-9610-CH-00320
Greene County Court of Appeals 05/13/97
Bell vs. Carter
03A01-9610-CH-00334
Court of Appeals 05/13/97
Savco vs. Century
03A01-9611-CV-00360
Court of Appeals 05/13/97
Upper East Tenn. vs. Johnson
03A01-9701-CH-00011
Court of Appeals 05/13/97
State vs. Hicks
03C01-9602-CC-00064
Washington County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/13/97
State vs. Violet
03C01-9603-CC-00135
McMinn County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/13/97
State vs. Brown
03C01-9604-CC-00140
Hancock County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/13/97
State vs. Copeland
03C01-9605-CC-00196
Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/13/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Court of Appeals 05/13/97
Carrier Air Conditioning, et al. v. Henry Maguffin
01S01-9607-CV-00135
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, Maguffin, contends the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that he did not suffer an injury by accident. The panel has concluded the judgment should be affirmed. The claimant was working for Carrier in August of 1993 when he sprained his wrist while operating an air gun, thereby aggravating a pre- existing fracture, or "non-union of the scaphoid bone." His wrist swelled and he felt immediate pain. He received first aid from the company nurse, but continued to work. Almost a year later, because of continuing complaints of pain, he was referred by the employer to an orthopedic surgeon. The doctor operated and returned the claimant to work with some restrictions. In his deposition, the doctor opined that the injury aggravated the pre-existing condition by increasing pain, but did not create any permanent anatomical change. The surgeon was properly paid by the employer. The trial court found that the claimant had not suffered an injury by accident as contemplated by the Workers' Compensation Act. Appellate review is de novo upon the record of the trial court, accompanied by a presumption of correctness, unless the preponderance of the evidence is otherwise. Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-225(e)(2). Under the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Law, injuries by accident arising out of and in the course of employment which cause either disablement or death of the employee are compensable. Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-12(a)(5). An accidental injury is one which cannot be reasonably anticipated, is unexpected and is precipitated by unusual combinations of fortuitous circumstances. See Fink v. Caudle, 856 S.W.2d 952 (Tenn. 1993), and cases cited therein. An employer takes its employee with all pre-existing conditions, and cannot escape liability when the employee, upon suffering a work related injury, incurs disability far greater than if he had not had the pre-existing condition; Rogers v. Shaw, 813 S.W.2d 397 (Tenn. 1991); but if work aggravates a pre-existing condition merely by increasing pain, there is no injury by accident. Townsend v. State, 826 S.W.2d 434 (Tenn. 1992). The undisputed medical proof from the operating surgeon is that this claimant's aggravation of a pre-existing condition merely increased his pain 2
Coffee County Workers Compensation Panel 05/13/97
Clarence Wayne Dunn v. Sequatchie Concrete Services, et al.
01S01-9606-CV-00121
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 appellant is seeking review of the findings of the trial court with respect to the following issues: (1) Whether the employee's claim against it is barred by Tenn Code Ann. section 5-6-23, a one-year statute of limitations1; (2) Whether the claim should be disallowed for the employee's failure to give timely written notice of his claim, as required by Tenn. Code Ann. section 5-6-21; (3) Whether the appellee was an employee of the RDF at the time of the injury; (4) Whether the award of permanent partial disability benefits is excessive; and (5) Whether the trial judge abused his discretion by commuting permanent partial disability benefits to a single lump sum. The employee contends the appeal is frivolous. As discussed below, the panel has concluded the judgment should be affirmed. The employee or claimant, Dunn, is thirty-eight years old and has an eighth grade education. He has a commercial driver's license and has worked as a truck driver for some ten years. He gradually developed a ruptured disk in his lower back while driving a truck owned by the employer, RDF Transportation, Inc. After back surgery, he returned briefly to work for the appellant but resigned because the work exceeded his medical limitations. As to issues (1) through (4), this appeal turns on factual determinations. Appellate review is therefore de novo upon the record of the trial court, accompanied by a presumption of correctness, 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.
Wayne County Workers Compensation Panel 05/13/97
Patricia Dunn v. H.D. Lee Co.
01S01-9604-CH-00061
This case is before the Court upon 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 in dismissing as untimely plaintiff's claim for workers' compensation benefits.
Lincoln County Workers Compensation Panel 05/13/97
Dianne B. Fowler v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co, et al.
01S01-9607-GS-00151
Warren County Workers Compensation Panel 05/13/97
Randy F. Shadden v. ITT Hartford Ins. Co., et al.
01S01-9607-CH-00148
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, Hartford, argues (1) the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that the employee or claimant, Shadden, suffered a work related injury, (2) the evidence preponderates against the trial court's award of permanent total disability benefits and (3) the trial court erred in awarding medical expenses not disclosed in response to discovery requests and not "properly proven at trial." The Second Injury Fund (the Fund), which was made a party by an amended complaint, contends the evidence preponderates against the trial judge's finding that the claimant is permanently and totally disabled. As discussed below, the panel has concluded the judgment should be affirmed. As a result of a previous compensable injury in 1984, while working for another employer in another state, the claimant was awarded benefits equating to fifty-three percent to the body as a whole. In a vehicular accident in 1989, which was not work related, he suffered spinal injuries which necessitated the insertion of metal rods in his back. The rods were removed in 1994. The employer at all relevant times knew of his pre-existing disabilities. He continued to work with pain and received a number of awards for sales excellence. In January of 1995, he was sales manager for a company in Cookeville which sold copiers. There is conflicting evidence with respect to the exact date of the occurrence, but during the week of January 9, 1995, the claimant noticed a truck driver unloading a large copier, weighing over six hundred pounds, from a truck. He attempted to assist the driver with the unloading when something "popped" in his back and he felt immediate pain. He told a co-worker immediately about the occurrence and had her write it down. He also gave timely written notice. The co-worker testified she had seen the claimant with his hands on the copier, one hand on the side and one on the bottom. The same day, the claimant drove to Fentress County General Hospital's emergency room where he received a shot to relieve his pain. He may or may not have also played racquetball that afternoon, but there is no medical evidence that his new injury was from something other than the lifting incident. He also worked for a few days immediately following the injury but was soon forced to quit because of severe pain. The treating physician, Dr. Leonard Carroll, who was familiar with the claimant's medical history, testified the claimant suffered a new spinal cord injury causally related to the lifting incident and an exacerbation of the pre- existing conditions and that, as a result, he developed, in addition to severe low back pain, bladder incontinence and depression to the extent of being suicidal. 2
Fentress County Workers Compensation Panel 05/13/97
Krick vs. City of Lawrenceburg
01S01-9511-CV-00220
Lawrence County Supreme Court 05/12/97
State vs. Chad Douglas Poole
02S01-9607-CC-00064
Supreme Court 05/12/97
State vs. Chad Douglas Poole
02S01-9607-CC-00064
Supreme Court 05/12/97
State vs. Downey
03S01-9604-CC-00039
Supreme Court 05/12/97
State vs. Robert Gober
M1999-01425-CCA-R3-CD
The Defendant was convicted of two counts of aggravated assault. For these crimes, he was sentenced to concurrent terms of eight years to be served in the Department of Correction as a Range II, multiple offender. On appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence and argues that he was improperly sentenced. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.
Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/11/97
IN RE: The adoption of Brandon Kain Dicus; Scott Steel and Darla Steel v. Maryl Lou Dicus - Concurring
01-A-01-9611-CH-00502

This is an appeal by defendant, Mary Lou Dicus, from the decision of the chancery court to set aside the court’s order of 18 October 1993 which amended the court’s order of adoption filed on 24 August 1993. The facts  out of which this matter arose are as follows.

Wayne County Court of Appeals 05/09/97
George Avery Land and Stella Faye Land v. Buster Crum and Patricia L. Crum - Concurring
01-A-01-9611-CH-00524

The defendants, Buster Crum and wife Patricia L. Crum, have appealed from the judgment of the Trial Court resolving a boundary dispute favorably  to the plaintiffs, George Avery Land and wife, Stella Faye Land. The sole  issue presented to this Court by the defendants/appellants is:  Whether the Chancellor erred by ruling that the common boundary line between the parties’ properties should be surveyed in the course and distance method when there were ample natural objects, landmarks, artificial monuments and lines of adjoining landowners sufficiently describing the common boundary line.

Sequatchie County Court of Appeals 05/09/97
Larry R. Foster and Linda H. Johnston, v. Jay W. Shim
01A01-9512-CV-00569

This appeal involves the lease of a grocery store in Nashville. Following
the landlord’s death, the trust succeeding to the landlord’s interest filed an
unlawful detainer action in the Davidson County General Sessions Court seeking
to recover possession of the property. The tenant appealed the adverse judgment
to the Circuit Court for Davidson County. The circuit court granted the trust’s
motion for summary judgment after finding that the tenant had breached the lease
by failing to make timely and sufficient lease payments. We have determined that
the summary judgment must be reversed because the trust has failed to
demonstrate that it was entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 05/09/97
Memphis Publishing Company, v. Tennessee Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Board, et al.
01A01-9607-CH-00300

This case is on appeal for the second time. The Tennessee Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Board and J. W. Luna, as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (hereinafter “Board” or “Appellants”), have appealed from the judgment of the trial court declaring the appellee, Memphis Publishing Company (MPC), eligible for reimbursement from the Tennessee Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Fund (Fund) for remediation expenses incurred as a result of a release from its underground storage tank in August 1987. The trial court’s decision came after remand from the Middle Section of this Court in Memphis Publishing Company v. Tennessee PetroleumUnderground Storage Tank Board, No. 01A01-9305-CH-00202, 1993WL 476292 (Tenn. App. Nov. 19, 1993), perm. app. denied, c.r.o. There, the court confronted the issue of whether MPC had a right to Fund reimbursement under the Tennessee Petroleum Underground Storage Tank Act (Act), T.C.A. § 68-215-101 et seq., as originally enacted. 1 It was argued that MPC had no right to reimbursement because its release occurred prior to the effective date of the Act, July 1, 1988. This Court, speaking through Judge Lewis, held that the Act, as originally enacted, “was intended to cover, from a Fund reimbursement perspective, all releases regardless of date.” Upon remand, the trial court held the court of appeal’s decision “law of the case” and ruled as hereinabove set forth. It is urged on appeal that the decision rendered in Memphis Publishing is not the “law of the case” regarding MPC’s Fund eligibility and that the trial court erred in so holding. For reasons hereinafter stated, we affirm.

Davidson County Court of Appeals 05/09/97
Linda Gail Ray, v. Billy Gene Ray
01A01-9608-CH-00360

This is a divorce case. Defendant, Billy Gene Ray (Husband), appeals from the judgment of the trial court dividing the marital property and awarding alimony to the plaintiff, Linda Gail Ray (Wife).

Wayne County Court of Appeals 05/09/97
Flora Scruggs v. Gordon Bell - Concurring
01A01-9610-CH-00475

This case involves a dispute concerning an easement for ingress and egress. Respondents-Appellants, Gordon Bell and Sarah T. Bell, appeal from the order of the trial court 1 On October 24, 1995, Flora Scruggs transferred the property by quitclaim deed to her husband, John T. Scruggs, Sr. On January 23, 1996, the trial court entered an order substituting John T. Scruggs, Sr. in place of Flora Scruggs as the proper party in interest.However, because the trial court and the parties have continued to refer to the petitioner as Flora Scruggs, we will do likewise. 2 Scruggs actually purchased the land with John T. Scruggs, Sr. In 1982, John T. Scruggs, Sr. conveyed his interest in the land to Flora Scruggs making her the sole owner until she conveyed it back to him in 1995. 3 Old New Cut Road is referred to throughout the record as Old New Cut Road, New Cut Road, Triune, and Salem Road, or old dirt road. In this opinion, we will call the road “Old New Cut Road.” 2 granting an easement by estoppel to Petitioner-Appellee, Flora Pope Scruggs1, without compensation to the Bells.

Rutherford County Court of Appeals 05/09/97