Happy birthday to us!
A little over one year ago, the Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims and the Appeals Board were borne. Our Courts were created in the historic 2013 reform legislation, which brought Tennessee in line with 48 other jurisdictions in their approach to workers’ compensation claims. Going forward, state trial courts with general jurisdiction would no longer decide cases. Rather, the new administrative courts, staffed with specialist judges, will resolve disputes.
It’s been an exciting first year, building courts from the bottom up, and watching the judges “remove the training wheels” to start adjudicating cases. Clearly I’m biased, but I can state without hesitation that each and every jurist takes their charge very seriously, and they diligently pursue the court’s mission to provide a fair, efficient and professional system.
Among the many tasks the trial judges perform is to study and apply all opinions from the Appeals Board. They agree that the Appeals Board has already issued some weighty opinions, with which every Tennessee workers’ compensation practitioner and party should be familiar. Specifically, the Appeals Board has already provided valuable guidance on the applicability of pre-reform Act caselaw in several categories of cases, as well as the meaning of key provisions of the new law.
|Left to right: Presiding Judge Marshall L. Davidson III, Nashville; Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Joe Binkley, Jr., who swore the Appeals Board judges into office; Judge Timothy W. Conner, Knoxville; and Judge David F. Hensley, Chattanooga.|
Now, on to the opinions. In the very first new-law decision last autumn, Hosford v. Red Rover Preschool, the Appeals Board discussed notice and the definition of “arising primarily in and out of the course and scope of employment.”