Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 07/06/2015
Format: 07/06/2015
03C01-9606-CC-00216
Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/27/97
Mallard vs. Tompkins
M2000-00162-COA-R3-CV
The trial court entered judgment on a jury verdict for the defendant. The plaintiff argues on appeal that the trial court committed reversible error by failing to exclude from the jury a woman who revealed that she knew some members of the defense attorney's family. We affirm the trial court.
Davidson County Court of Appeals 03/27/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Smith County Court of Appeals 03/27/97
02A01-9607-CH-00169
Shelby County Court of Appeals 03/25/97
03C01-9511-CC-00355
Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/97
03C01-9512-CR-00416
Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/97
03C01-9512-CR-00416
Hamilton County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/97
03C01-9603-CC-00118
Blount County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/97
03C01-9604-CC-00158
Bradley County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/97
03C01-9606-CC-00228
Roane County Court of Criminal Appeals 03/25/97
State vs/ John Farris Hunter, III
01S01-9605-CC-00083
Marshall County Supreme Court 03/24/97
01S01-9608-OT-00167
Supreme Court 03/24/97
03A01-9610-CH-00327
Knox County Court of Appeals 03/24/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Court of Appeals 03/24/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Court of Appeals 03/24/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Court of Appeals 03/24/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Anderson County Court of Appeals 03/24/97
Willie Banks v. Meridan Insurance Co.
01S01-9509-CV-00159
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 reported that he had injured his back on May 4, 1993. The trial judge found the plaintiff had failed to show by a preponderance of the evidence that he had sustained a permanent impairment and dismissed the complaint. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. The undisputed evidence shows the plaintiff suffered from spinal stenosis, a manifestation of the aging process, which is normal for a person of the age of 62, the age of plaintiff. The material evidence consists of the deposition testimony of Dr. Roger Ray, a neurosurgeon, and a CT scan done at Crockett Hospital. Dr. Ray, when asked on direct questioning, testified the plaintiff sustained a ten percent whole body impairment as a result of the alleged back injury. The finding was based upon the testing given to him and upon his evaluation of the plaintiff and review of the CT scan report. On cross-examination, Dr. Ray testified he did not use the 4th Edition of the AMA Guides to determine the disability of the plaintiff, but testified he thought he used the 3rd edition. Dr. Ray's testimony was less than clear on whether he used any edition of the Guidelines. The ultimate outcome of the testimony of Dr. Ray and the finding of the CT scan is that the plaintiff suffered from spinal stenosis, which was not caused by the injury at work. At most, the injury only caused the plaintiff to suffer pain. The plaintiff was released by Dr. Ray to return to work without any limitations. From the record, we find the plaintiff suffered from an underlying condition that was not caused by the employment. At most, the plaintiff has, by his own report, suffered only pain. There is no evidence the employment caused any progression or aggravation of the underlying condition, but only caused pain. This is not compensable. Cunningham v. Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., 811 S.W.2d 888 (Tenn. 1991). See also Townsend v. State, 826 S.W.2d 434 (Tenn. 1992). 2
Lawrence County Workers Compensation Panel 03/24/97
Guy Brewer v. City of Waynesboro
01S01-9607-CV-00150
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 employee appeals from the trial court's dismissal of his complaint for workers' compensation benefits for lack of notice. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. Plaintiff testified that he injured his back on May 6, 1993, while unloading 5- pound bags of chemicals in the course of his employment as water plant operator for the City of Waynesboro. He testified that his back began to hurt that evening and then continued to get worse. He testified that he informed Flora Locker, the city recorder, and Howard Riley, public works director, that he had hurt his back at work within two weeks of his injury. He further testified that Riley provided him with someone to assist him with lifting about two weeks after his May 6, 1993 injury. Flora Locker testified that the plaintiff told her he hurt his back lifting bags of chemicals, but she was uncertain when he told her except that it was before his July 14, 1993 fall. She testified that she did not make a report of it because it was more than ten days after the accident, which was the time limit she had been told for reporting accidents; however, she also testified that he never told her when he had hurt his back. Howard Riley denied ever having received notice from the plaintiff. A co- worker, David Maples, testified that Steve Colley, the city manager, told him about two weeks after May 6, 1993, to make sure that plaintiff did not have to do any lifting at work because plaintiff was having problems with his back. Plaintiff first went to Dr. J.V. Mangubat, a general practitioner and surgeon, for treatment. Dr. Mangubat testified by deposition that plaintiff first complained of pain in his left hip radiating down his left leg in April 1993, which he attributed to arthritis. He saw plaintiff again on May 6, 1993 to remove sutures from a previous in- office excision. Plaintiff did not complain of back or leg pain at the time. Plaintiff returned on June 3, 1993, complaining of pain in both hips radiating down both legs with some 2
Wayne County Workers Compensation Panel 03/24/97
Equity Group, Tennessee v. Sherri Leslie
01S01-9606-CH-00125
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 is whether the trial court erred in awarding the plaintiff benefits for a disability to her right leg. The plaintiff alleged and the court found that she injured her left knee on July 22, 1993 resulting in disability for which benefits were awarded, not here questioned. Nine months later, in April, 1994, she alleged that during the course of her employment her left knee collapsed, causing her to fall on her right knee resulting in a disabling injury. In the course of time she sought benefits for disability to both knees. The trial court found that both injuries were compensable, and awarded benefits based on 55 percent disability to the left knee and 4 percent to the right knee. The employer argues that the evidence falls short of proving that the plaintiff suffered an injury by accident to her right knee, and that the court's reliance on the testimony of Dr. Roy C. Terry was misplaced because he was not credibly informed. Dr. Terry testified that the right knee injury "could be" related to the July, 1993 injury. From this testimony the defendant extrapolates the argument that Dr. Terry assumed both knee problems arose in 1993, contrary to the testimony of the plaintiff that she injured her right knee in 1994. The argument continues that "could be" testimony alone is not sufficient; that there must be, at least, corroborating lay testimony. This is a correct legal assertion. See Livingston v. Shelby Williams, 811 S.W.2d 511 (Tenn. 1991). But there is corroborative lay testimony in this record. As stated above, the plaintiff testified that her left knee collapsed, causing her to fall on her right knee. It is true that she gave confusing, perhaps conflicting accounts of the episode, but the Chancellor, and not us, is the arbiter of her credibility, and of the weight to be accorded her testimony. See Walls v. Magnolia Truck Lines, 622 S.W.2d 526, 528 (Tenn. 1981). 2
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 03/24/97
Thomas Hickman v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.
01S01-9606-CV-00117
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 his back on April 29, 1994 while repairing a forklift truck for the employer, Richland, Incorporated. The trial judge awarded him 12-1/2 percent permanent partial disability. He appeals, asserting that the amount of disability should not have been based on the medical report of the first treating physician and that the two and one-half multiplier cap in TENN. CODE ANN. _ 5-6-241 should not have been applied under the facts of this case. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. Plaintiff sustained injury to his back on April 29, 1994 while lifting a cylinder head from a forklift truck. Medical records of Dr. Vaughan Allen, designated as Exhibit 1 to the Deposition of Dr. Earl M. Jeffres, indicate that plaintiff was first treated by Dr. Charles D. Haney, who prescribed medications and rest. When plaintiff did not improve, he was referred by the employer to Dr. Allen. In May of 1995 he was sent by his attorney to Dr. Earl M. Jeffres. The plaintiff first raises the issue that: "The trial court erred in basing its decision on the written report of a non-testifying physician [Dr. Allen] and rejecting the testimony of the only medical expert [Dr. Jeffres]." Dr. Allen's treatment records of May 24, 1994 and May 27, 1994 revealed that plaintiff had a loss of range of motion of his low back, muscle spasm and a straight leg raise test that was positive for lumbar injury. X-ray revealed a central disc protrusion. Plaintiff was taken off work and placed on physical therapy for four weeks. On June 28, 1994, plaintiff returned to Dr. Allen, stating that he was "better but not well." He told Dr. Allen that there was "absolutely no light duty and that he works at very heavy machines . . . " In light of this assertion by the patient, Dr. Allen advised him to continue the chronic exercise program and return for a re-check in two months. Allen further opined that "Certainly, if there is light duty he could start 2
Hickman County Workers Compensation Panel 03/24/97
James K. Ringrose v. Saturn Corp.
01S01-9607-CH-00141
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 sustained deQuervain's disease, an inflammatory condition which first manifested itself in November, 1992, while doing repetitive factory work for defendant. The trial court awarded 1 percent permanent partial disability to the right upper extremity for his right wrist injury. The plaintiff also developed an impingement injury to his right shoulder in August 1993. The trial court awarded 1 percent permanent partial disability to the body as a whole for this injury. We affirm the judgment of the trial court. Plaintiff first reported severe pain in his right wrist to the medical department of the employer on November 9, 1992. He was given an over-the-counter anti- inflammatory medication and a wrist splint. He went back to work. He returned to the medical department on January 28, 1993 with continuing complaints of pain. He was given a wrist splint and placed on work restrictions. Soon thereafter, the employer referred plaintiff to Franklin Bone and Joint Clinic, where he was given a corticosteroid injection in his right hand. He was told to wear a thumb splint and to temporarily avoid gripping with his right hand. On August 26, 1993 Plaintiff sustained an injury to his right shoulder, while pushing and pulling auto doors. The employer's medical department provided pain medication, ice packs and on-site physical therapy, then referred him to Dr. Jeffrey Cook, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon. Dr. Cook treated plaintiff from November 18, 1993 until April 11, 1995. He surgically removed the end of plaintiff's collar bone, bone spurs and scar tissue. On April 11, 1995, plaintiff told Dr. Cook that he was transferring to a position which would not require repetitive motion. Dr. Cook assessed no permanent disability, although he also opined that Dr. Gaw had seen plaintiff more recently, and therefore if Dr. Gaw thought plaintiff had 5 percent disability he would not disagree. 2
Williamson County Workers Compensation Panel 03/24/97
United States Fidelity & Guaranty and Paraclesius Healthcare, Inc. v. Holly Scott
01S01-9607-CH-00138
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. I This action was filed by the employer and its insurer as one for declaratory judgment that "this case needs to be heard by the Court to determine the respective rights of the parties pursuant to the Tennessee W orkers' Compensation Act," since the employee was claiming a back injury sustained while assisting a patient during the course of her employment by Clay County Hospital. The defendant answered and counter-claimed, stating that she attempted to keep a patient from falling from a bed as a result of which she injured her back. The Chancellor found that the accident occurred as alleged, as a result of which the defendant was 7% vocationally disabled and awarded benefits accordingly. The plaintiffs appeal and present for review (1) whether the finding of 7% disability is excessive; (2) whether the multiplier was exceeded, (3) whether a partial lump sum was properly awarded. II The defendant is a 38-year-old licensed practical nurse and a certified nurse's aide. She was assisting a patient at home who rolled from bed and both of them hit the floor. As stated by the employer, the only issues litigated were the extent of permanent partial disability and the requested commutation of the award to a lump sum. She testified that she could no longer perform the duties of an LPN. Dr. Ray Hester, a neurosurgeon, testified that he initially saw the defendant on September 14, 1993. She complained of back pain and he later determined that she had a ruptured disc which surgery would not correct. Weight restrictions were imposed. He opined that she had a 5% impairment for thoracic strain and disc 2
Clay County Workers Compensation Panel 03/24/97
03A01-9604-CV-00147
Jefferson County Court of Appeals 03/21/97
03A01-9608-CH-00266
Greene County Court of Appeals 03/21/97