Appeals Board Announces Oral Arguments

The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board will hear oral arguments on May 4, 2017, at the Supreme Court Building in Nashville.

First up on the docket is Bass v. The Home Depot. In the case, Clarence Bass alleged suffering hand and wrist injuries while moving a shopping cart. The central dispute at the compensation hearing was medical causation involving two conflicting expert opinions. Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville, held the opinion of Mr. Bass’ independent medical examiner failed to overcome the presumption of correctness afforded to the causation opinion of the authorized treating physician. Mr. Bass is challenging that ruling on appeal, arguing, among other points, that he believes the ATP was mistaken regarding the mechanism of injury, and in particular which part of the cart made impact with his hand.

The second case to be argued is Panzarella v., Inc. Mr. Panzarella hurt his knee at work after a fall where he stopped to pick up a piece of paper lying on the floor. Judge Audrey Headrick, Chattanooga, cited testimony from the authorized treating physician to find that the incident was not work-related. The ATP testified that according to the history, there was no hazard on the floor other than the paper; that Mr. Panzarella’s knee could have given out “at work or anywhere”; and that Mr. Panzarella’s weight could have contributed to him losing his balance and falling when bending over. Mr. Panzarella argues on appeal that his work duties caused him to engage in the activity that led to his fall and that his physical attributes have no bearing because an employer takes an employee “as is.”

Arguments begin at 9:00 a.m. Central Time. Each side has twenty-five minutes to make his or her case.


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