By Judge Robert Durham, Cookeville Considering an appeal? I have an important tip for you: give the Appeals Board something to read. Trying to win on appeal without a transcript of the evidence is regrettably like trying to beat Alabama in college football—theoretically, it can be done, but don’t hold your breath. In fact, I … Continue reading Better Get it in Writing
By Judge Brian Addington, Gray I was sitting in our car in Nashville years ago when I heard a catchy tune from Paul Simon, Slip Sliding Away. I later learned the Oak Ridge Boys backed him up. I really liked that song, but I was used to hearing the Oak Ridge Boys sing gospel. I … Continue reading Slip sliding away
By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville Can undocumented injured workers collect increased permanent partial disability benefits in Tennessee under section 50-6-207(3)(B)? A Special Workers’ Compensation Panel of the Tennessee Supreme Court considered that question at oral arguments on November 19. Employee Salvador Sandoval asked the Panel to strike as unconstitutional the provision within the statute … Continue reading Panel probes undocumented workers’ eligibility for increased benefits
The Clerk of the Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims, Penny Shrum, is holding training on TNComp at three locations in December. There may be a surprise guest. The goal is to train lawyers, paralegals and legal assistants on how to upload documents to TNComp. We will also discuss filings with the Court. Please mark … Continue reading You’re Invited!
By Judge Brian Addington, Gray I recently came across the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. This happened while researching coins; I used to collect them and was wondering about the price of a coin I previously owned. While doing so, I discovered that the U.S. Mint issued a National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Silver Dollar … Continue reading Honoring law enforcement
By Brian Holmes, Nashville The Tennessee Bureau of Workers’ Compensation continues our tradition of hiring high-quality talent to the mediation program. We’re pleased to announce that Sam Keen, Derrick Shorter and George Maifair recently joined the Bureau as workers’ compensation mediators. Sam joined the Bureau last month. He previously worked as a staff attorney with … Continue reading Mediation and Ombudsman Services of Tennessee welcomes new staff
The public hearing on the proposed revisions to the Mediation and Hearing Procedures for the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims is Tuesday, October 30, at 10:00 a.m. Central Time at the Bureau of Workers' Compensation in the Tennessee Room, 220 French Landing Drive in Nashville. This is your opportunity to voice your opinion. Members of … Continue reading See you next week
By Judge Brian Addington, Gray I like having fun. Through the years, I’ve had some great times with friends and family. I won’t tell who, but another judge on the Court of Worker’s Compensation Claims and I almost got thrown out of the University of Tennessee Law Library because our study group was laughing so … Continue reading It’s not that funny
By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville When the Court began operating in July 2014, we already had a set of “rules” called the Mediation and Hearing Procedures. These rules were prepared before any judges were appointed and any “new law” injuries occurred. They were based on the statute and anticipated how the process would … Continue reading Rules Reorganization is Under Way
By Judge Lisa Lowe, Knoxville On September 17, 2018, we celebrated Constitution Day. The Knoxville Barristers, which is the young lawyers division of the Knoxville Bar Association, always has a school community outreach program during Law Week. For years and years (yes, for so long that they were doing it, even when I was president … Continue reading Honoring the Constitution
By Judge Dale Tipps, Murfreesboro Judges in the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims spend a lot of time writing, thinking about writing, and learning about writing. We receive writing instruction at least a couple of times per year and regularly submit samples of our orders to outside writing experts for individual evaluation. The obvious idea … Continue reading Good writing matters
By Judge Robert Durham, Cookeville In my early days as a lawyer, I would often take up quill and parchment and walk next door to the Legal Aid office where I could obtain my own personal legal charity—access to an honest-to-goodness law library. Ah, the good old days. Row upon row of casebooks, digests, and … Continue reading Look, Ma, I’m on the World Wide Web!
By Judge Brian Addington, Gray, and Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville As we just celebrated Labor Day, and as we approach the 100-year anniversary of workers’ compensation in Tennessee, both are excellent reminders of the importance of the Workers' Compensation Law. As you know, workers’ compensation was conceived as the “grand bargain,” in that employees … Continue reading Between a rock and a hard place
By Penny Shrum, Clerk of Court, Nashville Has anyone else noticed that there are a lot of owl commercials on TV? Cold medicine, education, travel – apparently we need a wise owl to tell us what to do. It’s no wonder that I immediately thought of the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who … Continue reading It’s Who You Know
By Judge Brian Addington, Gray As summer winds up, soon we’ll be saying farewell to fresh corn on the cob. Sigh. I love corn: corn on the cob, popcorn, grilled corn with cheese, creamed corn, and plain old frozen or canned corn. My Nana could cook the heck out of corn. I used to fight … Continue reading Rough as cob, sweet as corn
By Penny Shrum, Clerk of Court, Nashville It’s been over six months since the Court’s electronic filing system, TNComp, went live. The Court has received 744 requests to access cases in TNComp since February. But only 35 cases have had attachments uploaded by parties through TNComp in that same time period. TNComp has lots of … Continue reading Let’s be TNComp buddies!
By Judge Marshall L. Davidson, Nashville Speak with Judge David F. Hensley for long, and he might just tell you that he is “from the coal fields of Kentucky and had a public education.” Do not be fooled. You also might notice his distinctive southern drawl. Do not be fooled by that, either. Judge … Continue reading Congratulations, Judge David Hensley!
By Judge Thomas Wyatt, Chattanooga Just as doctors rarely have professional relationships with healthy people, judges don’t often see cases where the workers’ compensation system works. From the judicial vantage point, I see the stakeholders in the workers’ compensation system -- injured employees, employers, carriers, medical providers and their attorneys -- as prone to adversarial … Continue reading When less is more
By Judge Amber Luttrell, Jackson Exciting news! We’re shaking it up (somewhat) in Jackson to better serve you. After informal polling of attorneys who routinely appear for settlement approvals in Jackson, we’ve decided to switch our Tuesday approval day to Mondays. Friday approvals will continue as usual. We realized that Tuesdays are very busy days … Continue reading Jackson Approvals Update
By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville When an employee exited a building, missed the single step to the ground and fell, is her resulting injury compensable under the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law? The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board examined that question at its most recent oral arguments. Paul Nicks, the Germantown attorney representing the employer, … Continue reading Appeals Board Considers causation in ‘single step’ and heart attack cases