Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 09/04/2015
Format: 09/04/2015
02C01-9602-CC-00047
Dyer County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/21/97
Thomas G. Honeycutt, and wife Fanny M. Honeycutt, b. Bobby Jerald Price and wife, Betty J. Price
03A01-9610-CH-00329

Defendants Bobby Jerald Price and his wife Betty J. Price, appeal a judgment of the Chancery Court for Knox County wherein the Court fixed the boundary line between property owned by them and property owned by Plaintiffs Thomas G. Honeycutt and his wife, Fanny M. Honeycutt, in accorance with the Honeycutts' insistence. (See Appendix.)

 


 

Knox County Court of Appeals 05/21/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Hamilton County Court of Appeals 05/21/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Scott County Court of Appeals 05/21/97
Kay E. Blackwood, Jr. v. The Berkline Corp., et al.
01S01-9609-CV-00190
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 appellants contend (1) the award of permanent partial disability benefits is excessive, (2) it was error for the trial judge to become a witness in the case and (3) the trial judge abused his discretion by commuting permanent partial benefits to a lump sum. As discussed below, the panel has concluded the award of permanent partial disability benefits should be modified and, as modified, paid in a lump sum, and the evidential remarks of the trial judge were harmless in light of our modification. The claimant, Kay Eugene Blackwood, Jr., is thirty-nine years old with a high school education and vocational training as an automobile mechanic and some college training as a minister of the gospel. He gradually developed bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome from the repetitive use of his hands at work for employer, Berkline. The employer referred him to Dr. James B. Talmage. The doctor diagnosed bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome and prescribed braces for both wrists. He restricted the claimant from repetitive work with his right hand and recommended wearing the braces while sleeping. The claimant was totally disabled for several weeks. The doctor assigned zero percent permanent impairment, but acknowledged some loss of grip strength and conceded that, on the basis of lost grip strength, the AMA Guidelines provided twenty percent permanent impairment to the right arm and ten percent to the left, using a method the doctor considered inappropriate. Dr. Talmage did not concede the loss of grip strength was permanent. Dr. Randy Gaw, a neurologist, diagnosed mild right carpal tunnel syndrome but found no evidence of "left median nerve mononeuropathy" or "generalized neuropathic or myopathic process involving the upper extremities." The claimant returned to work for the employer. Dr. S. M. Smith, who did not treat the claimant but evaluated him, diagnosed moderate carpal tunnel syndrome on the right and mild carpal tunnel syndrome on the left. He assigned twenty percent permanent impairment to the right hand and ten percent to the left. The trial court awarded, among other things, permanent partial disability benefits based on fifty percent to each arm, commuted to a lump sum. 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). This tribunal is required to conduct an independent examination of the record to determine where the preponderance of the evidence lies.
Clay County Workers Compensation Panel 05/21/97
Carol A. Hilliard v. Tn. State Home Health Services, et al.
01S01-9609-CH-00193
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 employee contends, in this appeal, that there is a genuine issue of material fact concerning causation and that the summary judgment of dismissal should be reversed. As discussed below, the panel has concluded the case should be remanded for trial. In 1971 and 1972, the claimant underwent gallbladder surgery and a hysterectomy. In conjunction therewith, she was given two blood transfusions. Over the next several years, she carried on a normal life and exhibited no more than normal health problems. However, in 1988, the claimant visited a doctor complaining of extreme fatigue, a symptom of hepatitis C. In 1989, she visited a doctor who noted she had an enlarged liver, also a symptom of hepatitis C. By 1992, the claimant's fatigue had become worse and she experienced a series of colds and viruses. She was again diagnosed with an enlarged liver, and hepatitis C was diagnosed for the first time. She has seen several doctors, including Dr. Ellen B. Hunter, whose deposition was filed in support of the defendants' motion for summary judgment. Dr. Hunter testified that hepatitis C sufferers often remain asymptomatic for many years. The claimant testified that the signs of the disease began after she started working for the employer providing nursing care for medical patients. She said she never had any major health problems before that, a circumstance confirmed by her family doctor in his affidavit. Dr. Hunter testified the condition could have been caused by the above transfusions or by working with patients having hepatitis C. She confirmed that a health care worker such as the claimant "is at risk for acquiring hepatitis C." The trial court granted a summary judgment of dismissal. Appellate review is controlled by Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56. Downen v. Allstate Ins. Co., 811 S.W.2d 523 (Tenn. 1991). The pleadings and evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the opponent of the motion. Wyatt v. Winnebago Indus., Inc., 566 S.W.2d 276 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1977). Summary judgment is to be rendered only when it is shown that there is no genuine issue as to a material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Tenn. R. Civ. P. 56. It is almost never an option in workers' compensation cases. Berry v. Consolidated Systems, Inc., 84 S.W.2d 445 (Tenn. 1991). In a summary judgment hearing, even where the parties have no right to a jury trial, the trial judge is not at liberty to weigh the evidence. 2
Stewart County Workers Compensation Panel 05/21/97
Brenda Durham Konyndyk v. Eagle Displays, Inc.
01S01-9609-CH-00188
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 appeals the trial court's finding that she did not retain any permanent partial disability as a result of her work-related injury. We affirm the trial court's judgment. On July 24, 1993, plaintiff was hit by a forklift from behind while she was squatting to take plastic wrap off supplies for the work she was performing. She injured her left shoulder when she fell as a result of this accident. She continued to work after her injury except for a few breaks to rest her shoulder, either at her doctor's request or her own, until March 31, 1995, when she voluntarily quit or retired. She testified that she quit because of her continued shoulder pain, but it is not clear from the transcript whether she gave this reason to her employer. She testified that she continues to experience pain in her shoulder which limits her ability to reach, especially overhead, and lift. She testified that she has difficulty cleaning showers and overhead cabinets, working in her garden and swimming. Plaintiff has mostly received her treatment from her family practitioner, Dr. J. Richard Thomasson. He diagnosed tendinitis of the left shoulder. He also diagnosed tenosynovitis in her right thumb after it began to bother her in the late fall of November 1994; however, he could not testify with any certainty as to the cause of her right thumb tenosynovitis. He opined that she had a medical impairment rating of 27% to the whole body, which he broke down to 7% whole body impairment due to her left shoulder tendinitis and 22% whole body impairment due to her right thumb tenosynovitis. Dr. Thomason testified the plaintiff's thumb problem was due either to overuse or trauma. Dr. Thomason's testimony was uncertain and not persuasive in establishing plaintiff's disability, if any, from her work-related injury. Plaintiff was also evaluated by three orthopedic surgeons. Dr. Robert E. Stein ordered an MRI, which showed mild degenerative disc disease from the C5 through the C7 disks, but was within normal limits. He opined that it was "an MRI that would be 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 05/21/97
Randy Pertuset v. Pargo's, Inc.
01S01-9609-CH-00189
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 dismissed the plaintiff's petition for workers' compensation benefits. The plaintiff raises the following issues: I. The trial court erred in finding that the altercation between the plaintiff and Thomas Wilson, a co-employee, was not an "accident" sufficient to justify an award of workers' compensation benefits. II. The trial court erred in finding that the medical evidence was insufficient to justify an award based on a mental or nervous disorder. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. The plaintiff in the case was employed as a supervisor at Pargo's, Inc., a restaurant. On January 27, 1994, during the lunch hour, the plaintiff became involved in an exchange with a cook over an order. The evidence shows the plaintiff entered the kitchen to reprimand the cook. The plaintiff pointed his finger at the cook's face as he spoke to him. There is a dispute between the plaintiff and the other witnesses about what then occurred. The plaintiff testified the cook struck him on the neck with his arm, and that he fell to the floor as a result of the blow. The plaintiff was the only witness to give this history of the confrontation. The other witnesses testified the cook placed his hand on the plaintiff's face and pushed him away. All of these witnesses testified the plaintiff did not fall. The day following the incident, the plaintiff became emotionally upset and had to leave work. Basically, the plaintiff was never successfully employed after this time because his mental condition seemed to deteriorate. The Chancellor's memorandum stated in its most pertinent part as follows: The Court finds that the altercation on January 27, 1994 between the plaintiff and Mr. Wilson did not amount to an "accident" sufficient to justify an award. While the plaintiff claims that the plaintiff assaulted him with such force sufficient to cause him to fall to the floor and suffer from neck stiffness, evidence in the record and testimony at trial do not support such a conclusion. Testimony at trial by co-workers who witnessed the altercation reports that the plaintiff began the altercation by verbally 2
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 05/21/97
Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance Co. v. Francine Kuntz
01S01-9609-CH-00187
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 us with an issue involving venue in a workers' compensation case. As discussed below, the panel concludes the judgment of the trial court, dismissing the case for improper venue, should be affirmed. The employer's insurer, Yasuda, commenced this action in Davidson County where, according to the complaint, its principal place of business is located. The employee moved, without supporting affidavits, to dismiss for improper venue. The trial court granted the motion without an evidential hearing.1 The relevant facts are undisputed. The employee is a resident of Robertson County; the corporate employer has its principal office in Sumner County, where the injury occurred; and the employer's insurer has its principal office in Davidson County. The trial judge dismissed the complaint for improper venue because, according to the employee's brief, the employee "may not have a different residence than (sic) the employer for the purpose of determining proper venue under the Workers' Compensation Law of Tennessee." Appellate review is de novo upon the record of the trial court. Presley v. Bennett, 86 S.W.2d 857 (Tenn. 1993). In a significant number of past cases, our Supreme Court held that a workers' compensation action was a transitory one and that venue was to be determined by considering both the provision of the Workers' Compensation Act with respect to venue and the general rules relating to transitory actions. Those cases were overturned by that court's opinion in Five Star Express, Inc. v Davis, 866 S.W.2d 944 (Tenn. 1993), wherein it said in conclusion, ".... we now hold that venue in workers' compensation actions is to be determined solely by the workers' compensation venue statute -- section 5-6-225(c)(1) -- and any other authority indicating otherwise is hereby expressly overruled." The section provides as follows: (c)(1) The party filing the petition may, at such party's option, instead of filing the same before the county judge or chair, file the same as an original petition in either the circuit, criminal or chancery 1 The employee has filed a separate action for benefits in Robertson County. 2
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 05/21/97
Marilyn Morgan vs. Velma McCrory
02A01-9604-CV-00072
Shelby County Court of Appeals 05/20/97
Deborah Tuggle vs. Shelby Co. Government, et al
02A01-9606-CV-00147
Shelby County Court of Appeals 05/20/97
Tommye Johnson vs. Edward Johnson, Sr.
02A01-9609-Cv-00217
Shelby County Court of Appeals 05/20/97
02C01-9509-CC-00259
Lauderdale County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/20/97
State vs. Henry Eugene Hodges
01S01-9505-CR-00080
Davidson County Supreme Court 05/19/97
Stein vs. Davidson Hotel Company
01S01-9610-CV-00202
Davidson County Supreme Court 05/19/97
State vs. Christopher Prentiss
02C01-9604-CR-00112
Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/97
State vs. Maurice Garner
02C01-9508-CR-00223
Shelby County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/97
03C01-9311-CR-00363
Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/97
State vs. Nail
03C01-9406-CR-00197
Rhea County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/97
State vs. Teague
03C01-9601-CC-00027
Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/97
State vs. Lowery
03C01-9604-CC-00146
Jefferson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/97
State vs. Johnson
03C01-9606-CC-00214
Loudon County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/97
State vs. Beeler
03C01-9607-CC-00264
Sullivan County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/19/97
Kite vs. Kite
03S01-9610-CH-00099
Supreme Court 05/19/97
01C01-9401-CC-00017
Robertson County Court of Criminal Appeals 05/16/97