In re Cooperation

By Judge Lisa A. Lowe, Knoxville

Several months ago, a committee was formed within the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to examine the process of the issuance of the dispute certification notice. The committee consisted of judges, mediators and program coordinators. One of its goals was to ensure greater consistency with regard to which documents are attached to the DCN and to assure that the parties have adequate input regarding the information that is provided to the court.

Following the committee meetings, Chief Judge Switzer issued the following “standing order,” below, based in part on the committee’s recommendations.

  1. The filing of any medical record(s) in excess of ten pages without a table of contents and page numbers is expressly prohibited in accordance with Rule 0800-02-21-.16(6)(c) (November, 2016) of the Tennessee Compilation Rules and Regulations. Self-represented litigants are exempt from this requirement.
  2. Medical records that have no relevancy to the disputed issue(s) of the pending Petition for Benefit Determination shall not be filed with the Bureau.
  3. Duplicate filing of medical record(s) is expressly prohibited except when the medical record is attached to a properly filed motion where that record is relevant to the Court’s consideration of the motion.
  4. Parties shall cooperate with the assigned Mediator to ensure all documents transmitted to the Court with the Dispute Certification Notice comply with these requirements.

You should see a written copy of the entire order posted at your local Bureau office. As a standing order, these remain in full effect until amended or withdrawn. Failure to comply with this Order may result in sanctions under Tennessee Rules of Civil Procedure 16.06 and/or penalties under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-118(9).

After the Reform Act initially took effect, we afforded the parties and the practicing bar a fair amount of leeway with regard to compliance with procedural rules. We could afford to do so because the volume of our caseloads was low at the outset. As we have progressed several years under the new system, we now have full dockets and simply must request that lawyers follow the rules so that we may enter timely orders in your cases.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated cooperation and courtesies.

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