New Faces on the Tennessee Workers’ Comp Bench

By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer

I’m happy to announce the newest jurists on the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. They are: Robert Durham, Cookeville; Audrey Headrick, Chattanooga; Amber Luttrell, Jackson; and Dale Tipps, Murfreesboro/Nashville.

The Administrator of the Division of Workers’ Compensation, Abbie Hudgens, selected the appointees from recommendations of this year’s Workers’ Compensation Interview Committee, composed of representatives of employers, plaintiff attorneys, defense attorneys and two former Tennessee Supreme Court justices. In an e-mail announcing their selection, Ms. Hudgens wrote, “All four of these appointees have excellent credentials and backgrounds in workers’ compensation claims. I am confident that the new judges will conduct themselves with fairness, consistency, patience and excellence.”

I personally participated in their interviews and could not agree more. 

With regard to their credentials:

Robert Durham was promoted to Director of the Division’s Benefit Review Program in 2014 after serving as Assistant Director for two years. He started with the Department of Labor and Workforce Development in 2005 as a Specialist IV in the Cookeville office. Beforehand, he was a Senior Associate at Wimberly Lawson Seale Wright & Daves, PLLC with an emphasis on workers’ compensation defense. He received his law degree from the University of Tennessee and his bachelor’s from Tennessee Technological University.

Audrey Headrickwas a specialist IV in the Division’s Chattanooga office. She joined the Department in 2004, after two years in private practice, where she concentrated in workers’ compensation. She earned her J.D. at the University of Memphis in 2002, and her bachelor’s from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 1997.

Amber Luttrellcomes to the Division from private practice as a partner with Waldrop & Hall in Jackson, where she concentrated in workers’ compensation claims and related employment litigation, personal injury and intellectual property. She received her J.D. from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2001, and a bachelor’s in 1998 from Millsap’s College. 

Dale Tippsjoined the Division in 2011 and served as a specialist IV in the Benefit Review Section. Before that, he was a partner in the Nashville law firm of Levine, Orr & Geracioti, where he practiced civil litigation with an emphasis in personal injury and workers’ compensation. He graduated from Middle Tennessee State University and Scarritt Graduate School with degrees in music before receiving his J.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1994.  

The judges will be sworn in on June 11, 2015, in the Nashville office. I look forward to working with them. I know they will serve the citizens of Tennessee well and do our Court proud.      

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