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Case Law

Wed, Feb 16th, 2011
Tennessee Workers' Compensation Decisions 1st Quarter 2011

Cases posted the week of 2/14/2011
Timothy Cook v. General Motors Corporation -
M2010-00272-SC-WCM-WC View
Bedford County - The Employee suffered a compensable injury while working on an automobile assembly line. A few months after the Employee filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits, his employer, through a highly-publicized bankruptcy, sold a majority of its assets to a newly created entity. The trial court held that because the Employee, who was employed by the new entity, had not returned to work for his pre-injury employer, he was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits in excess of the cap established by Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A). The employer has appealed, contending that the unique circumstances of its bankruptcy sale compel this Panel to rule that the Employee returned to work for his pre-injury employer¹. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Carolyn Berry v. Armstrong Wood Products - W2009-02070-WC-R3-WC View
Madison County - Employee filed a complaint for workers' compensation benefits against her former employer alleging that her work for her former employer advanced pre-existing arthritis in both knees and required her to have joint replacement surgery on her right knee. The employer denied her claim, contending that her condition was unrelated to her employment. The trial court found that she had sustained a compensable aggravation of her arthritis and that she had not had a meaningful return to work. It awarded 78% permanent partial disability ("PPD") to the body as a whole. The employer appealed,¹ contending that the trial court erred by finding the award was not subject to the one and one-half times impairment cap found in Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A). We agree with employer that employee is entitled to an award of one and one-half times her impairment rating and decrease the award to 39% PPD to the body as a whole. We affirm the judgment as modified.

Wasau Insurance Company v. Archie Richardson - E2010-00356-WC-R3-WCView
Judgement Order View
Loudon County
- The employee alleged that he injured his back in the course of his employment. His employers denied the claim based upon failure to give timely notice of the injury. The employee saw two medical doctors and a chiropractor shortly after his injury. Their records contained no reference to a work injury; one stated that the injury had happened at home. The trial court found that the employee did not provide timely notice of his alleged injury and, alternatively, that he failed to sustain his burden of proof concerning causation. The employee has appealed from those findings. We affirm the judgment.1

Cases posted the week of 1/24/2011
Daniel Veler vs. Wackenhut Services, Inc. et al -
E2010-00965-WC-R3-WC View
Judgement Order View
Anderson County - An employee of a company providing security services injured a knee at his place of employment. The trial court denied workers' compensation benefits. Because the injury arose out of the employment and is not idiopathic in nature, the employee is entitled to recovery under the statute. The judgment is reversed. The cause is remanded to the trial court for a determination of benefits.

Wyatt Johnson vs. Venture Express, Inc. et al. - E2009-02402-WC-R3-WCView
Judgment Order - View
Knox County - The employee filed a workers' compensation claim against the employer for injuries sustained in a trucking accident. The trial court ruled that the employee was permanently and totally disabled as a result of the accident and entitled to full benefits. The employer appealed, alleging that the trial court erred in finding the employee permanently and totally disabled. The appeal was referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(e)(3) and Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. Because the evidence does not preponderate against the findings of fact made by the trial court, the judgment is affirmed.

Dorothy Michaud v. Rehab Care Group, Inc. - W2009-02152-WC-R3-WC View
Gibson County - The employee sustained a compensable injury to her shoulder. As a result of her medical restrictions, she was unable to return to work at her previous job. The trial court adopted the impairment rating assigned by the physician conducting the employee's Independent Medical Examination over that of the treating doctor and warded 48% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole. The employer appealed. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.