Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts

Appellate Court Opinions

Format: 05/30/2015
Format: 05/30/2015
Reeser vs. Yellow Freight Systems
01S01-9603-CV-00042
Supreme Court 02/24/97
03C01-9506-CR-00160
Loudon County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/24/97
03C01-9608-CC-00284
Sevier County Court of Criminal Appeals 02/24/97
Ulrich vs. Ulrich
01A01-9606-CV-00264
Sumner County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Lovell & Malone vs. Commonwealth Life Ins.
01A01-9607-CH-00299
Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
01A01-9608-CH-00352
Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Almany vs. Christie
01A01-9608-CH-00376
Sumner County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Frank Collier Auction & Realty Co. vs. Rice, et. al.
01A01-9608-CH-00384
Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Davis vs. TN. Dept. of Correction & Campbell
01A01-9610-CH-00487
Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Davis vs. TN. Dept. of Correction & Campbell
01A01-9610-CH-00487
Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Waste Management vs. South Central Bell
01A01-9504-CV-00182
Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Waste Management vs. South Central Bell
01A01-9504-CV-00182
Davidson County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Brian Wolney and wife, Melissa Wolney, v. Lisa M. Emmons and Wells Fargo Armored Service Corporation
02A01-9508-CV-00169

This is a suit for damages brought by Plaintiff Brian Wolney (“Wolney”), with his wife Melissa Wolney, against Defendants Wells Fargo Armored Service Corporation (“WFA”) and Lisa M. Emmons (“Emmons”). Wolney sued for personal injuries he sustained in an accident while riding as a passenger in a vehicle driven by Emmons, but owned by WFA. The trial court granted partial summary judgment in favor of WFA, finding that Wolney’s tort claim against WFA was barred because Wolney was WFA’s statutory employee. The Wolneys appeal the grant of partial summary judgment. We affirm.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Brian Wolney and wife, Melissa Wolney v. Lisa M. Emmons and Wells Fargo Armored Service Corporation
02A01-9508-CV-00169

The petition for rehearing filed in behalf of the Appellants is denied.

Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Ikie Briggs, v. Estate of Odessa v. Briggs
02A01-9603-PB-00052

This is a will construction case. Respondent, Ikie Briggs, appeals from the order of the probate court construing the Last Will and Testament of Odessa V. Briggs in favor of the petitioner, Frances Duncan Briggs.

Shelby County Court of Appeals 02/21/97
X2010-0000-XX-X00-XX
Court of Appeals 02/21/97
Thomas R. Murrah v. Aetna Life and Casualty
02S01-9607-CV-00065
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.
Shelby County Workers Compensation Panel 02/21/97
Darin Potts v. Beaman Bottling Co., et al.
01S01-9605-CH-00108
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 found the plaintiff was 3% permanently partially disabled as a result of a work-related injury occurring on March 4, 1994. The trial court ordered the payment of temporary total disability benefits from May 23, 1994 through July 5, 1994. The trial court held that plaintiff was not entitled to reimbursement for unauthorized medical expenses. Appellant challenges the award of permanent partial disability benefits and temporary total disability benefits. Appellee challenges the trial court's refusal to allow reimbursement for unauthorized medical expenses. We affirm the trial court's judgment. Plaintiff, 3 at the time of trial, has a tenth-grade education. He has worked mostly in construction and as a sales clerk in retail and convenience stores. On March 4, 1994, he felt pain in his right shoulder as he was lifting cases of three-liter Pepsi bottles. He told his supervisor, who told him to go to the hospital if he needed to do so. He went to Baptist Convenient Care the next morning, and they referred him to Dr. Robert Stein, an orthopedic surgeon. Plaintiff worked sporadically for defendant on light-duty tasks until June 27, 1994, when Dr. Stein released him to full duty. He worked for a portion of one day at full duty and then voluntarily quit working for defendant. Plaintiff began working for Burlington Coat Factory in June 1994. At trial, plaintiff testified that he has constant pain and limited range of motion in his shoulders and neck. The employer put on various witnesses who testified to events which raised doubts as to the plaintiff's honesty in general, in a previous workers' compensation claim, and in this particular workers' compensation claim. The parties submitted the deposition testimony of four physicians. 2
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 02/21/97
Darin Potts v. Beaman Bottling Co., et al.
01S01-9605-CH-00108
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 found the plaintiff was 3% permanently partially disabled as a result of a work-related injury occurring on March 4, 1994. The trial court ordered the payment of temporary total disability benefits from May 23, 1994 through July 5, 1994. The trial court held that plaintiff was not entitled to reimbursement for unauthorized medical expenses. Appellant challenges the award of permanent partial disability benefits and temporary total disability benefits. Appellee challenges the trial court's refusal to allow reimbursement for unauthorized medical expenses. We affirm the trial court's judgment. Plaintiff, 3 at the time of trial, has a tenth-grade education. He has worked mostly in construction and as a sales clerk in retail and convenience stores. On March 4, 1994, he felt pain in his right shoulder as he was lifting cases of three-liter Pepsi bottles. He told his supervisor, who told him to go to the hospital if he needed to do so. He went to Baptist Convenient Care the next morning, and they referred him to Dr. Robert Stein, an orthopedic surgeon. Plaintiff worked sporadically for defendant on light-duty tasks until June 27, 1994, when Dr. Stein released him to full duty. He worked for a portion of one day at full duty and then voluntarily quit working for defendant. Plaintiff began working for Burlington Coat Factory in June 1994. At trial, plaintiff testified that he has constant pain and limited range of motion in his shoulders and neck. The employer put on various witnesses who testified to events which raised doubts as to the plaintiff's honesty in general, in a previous workers' compensation claim, and in this particular workers' compensation claim. The parties submitted the deposition testimony of four physicians. 2
Davidson County Workers Compensation Panel 02/21/97
Alan Lee Pressley v. United States Fidelity and Guaranty Co.
03S01-9606-CH-00058
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 trial court's finding that the employee has suffered an injury arising out of the employment. As discussed below, the panel has concluded the judgment should be affirmed. The employee or claimant, Pressley, was thirty-eight years old at the time of the trial. He has an eighth grade education, but had to repeat the second, fifth and seventh grades. He has worked as a bag boy and service station attendant. He began working as a mechanic for The Auto Place in 1988. On the afternoon of October 4, 1994, he was attempting to install a gasoline tank on a vehicle when his back made a popping noise and he felt low back pain. Later the same day, he reported to the emergency room at Harriman City Hospital. The history recorded by the admitting clerk reflects the claimant had been suffering back pain for about a year, but the claimant's wife testified at trial that she told the clerk about the injury that had occurred at work the same day. The claimant did not return to work the next day because of back pain. Four days later, the claimant reported to the emergency room at Oak Ridge Methodist Medical Center. The clerk's notes at this hospital indicate the pain began five days earlier as the claimant was getting out of bed, although the claimant's live testimony is that he explained to the person taking his history about the injury at work. He was thereafter treated by Dr. Hardigree, who released him to return to work after a conservative treatment and a short period of disability. 2
Knox County Workers Compensation Panel 02/21/97
Ronnie Settles v. Sharps Mill Forest Products Inc. and Old Republic Insurance Company
02S01-9607-CV-00069
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. _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 the plaintiff a permanent partial disability of ten (1%) percent to the body as a whole and found his proper compensation rate to be $366.68. Defendants have appealed, alleging that plaintiff did not prove that his facial disfigurement materially affected his employability, and that the trial court erred in setting the compensation rate at $366.68.
Hardin County Workers Compensation Panel 02/21/97
Peggy J. Skaggs v. Preferred Risk Mutual Insurance Company
03S01-9603-CV-00029
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 employer's insurer contends the evidence preponderates against the trial court's finding that the employee's fatal heart attack arose out of his employment. As discussed below, the panel has concluded the judgment should be affirmed. The claimant, Peggy Skaggs, is the widow of Charles R. Skaggs, deceased. At the time of his death, Mr. Skaggs was employed by the First Baptist Church of Morristown as Maintenance Supervisor. On August 8, 1994, following several hours of manual labor at the church, he developed severe neck pain and numbness and tingling in his hands and arms. Mrs. Skaggs, also a church employee, called an ambulance. He was taken to Ft. Sanders Hospital, where he died on August 1, 1994. According to the Death Certificate, death was caused by (1) heart attack, (2) coronary artery disease and (3) sudden cardiac death. The cause of the heart attack was confirmed by a medical doctor, who testified by deposition, "I believe the activity (he) engaged (in) may indeed have precipitated the onset of his myocardial infarction." The doctor conceded on cross-examination that undiagnosed pre-existing coronary artery disease may have been a contributing cause. The trial judge found the employee's heart attack to have been caused by physical exertion at work, thus compensable. 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). A heart attack is compensable, as an accidental injury, if it can be shown by competent evidence that the attack was precipitated by physical exertion or stress at work. Downen v. Allstate Ins. Co., 811 S.W.2d 523 (Tenn. 1991). The key, it has been held, to the recovery or denial of benefits is whether the heart attack is precipitated by the physical activity and exertion of the employee's work. Wingert v. Government of Sumner County, 98 S.W.2d 921 (Tenn. 1995). Moreover, an employee's death or disability resulting from a heart attack is causally related to his employment and therefore compensable, 2
Hamblen County Workers Compensation Panel 02/21/97
James W. Smith v. Wilson County Concrete Co., et al.
01S01-9604-CR-00073
Smith County Workers Compensation Panel 02/21/97
James W. Smith v. Wilson County Concrete Co., et al.
01S01-9604-CR-00073
Smith County Workers Compensation Panel 02/21/97
Douglas W. Taylor v. Bgl Mining Co., Inc., et al.
01S01-9604-CH-00066
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 of findings of fact and conclusions of law. The fundamental issue in this case is whether an injury on the way from work occurring on a road neither owned nor maintained by the employer, but which is the only available route from the work place, was an injury "arising out of and in the course of employment." Tenn. Code Ann. _ 5-6-12(a)(4). We conclude that it is not and affirm the trial court's summary judgment for the employer. Tennessee Consolidated Coal Company (TCC) uses independent contractors to mine coal on its 35, Cumberland Plateau acres by leasing individual mines to individual operators. The plaintiff's employer, BGL Mining Company, leased mine 34, and mined TCC's coal for which TCC paid BGL a per- ton fee. TCC hauled the coal away from mine 34 and other mines on a haul road TCC built and maintained along the Marion-Sequatchie county line. The haul road was the only way to get to and from mine 34. The private road leads from a county road a short distance from the county road's intersection with Tennessee Highway 18. TCC's haul roads are strictly private roads, and TCC limits access to them. Victoria Arlene Anderson did not have permission to use TCC's haul road on the afternoon of March 11, 1992, but she drove her Dodge pick-up on it anyway and collided head-on with the plaintiff's car as he was driving from his work at mine 34. The severely injured plaintiff was air-lifted to Chattanooga's Erlanger Medical Center. -2-
Marion County Workers Compensation Panel 02/21/97