Panel Adopts Appeals Board’s Opinion in TTD case

By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville

Last week, the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order declining to review a case where a Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel had adopted an Appeals Board opinion in whole.

The high court’s per curiam order means the Panel decision is final in Boutros v. Amazon.com DEDC, LLC.

In the case, Nesreen Boutros suffered a work-related injury to her neck and right arm and shoulder while working as a package handler for Amazon in April 2015. Ultimately, the case was tried in October 2019, after which the trial judge awarded approximately $30,000 in past temporary disability benefits.

Amazon appealed to the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, which affirmed.

In making the order for temporary disability benefits, the lower court relied on the authorized treating physician’s opinion within a form C-30A. The form took Boutros off work from the date of injury until January 2, 2018.

Amazon argued that the authorized treating physician’s opinions were not credible because he “did not have the needed information to determine whether restrictions were appropriate.” The Board disagreed, reasoning that the doctor’s records, including the Final Medical Report forms, were offered into evidence by Amazon, and Amazon relied on them to support its defenses.

The Board wrote, “It is incongruous for a party to offer medical documentation into evidence and rely on certain portions of the documentation, then argue that the remainder of the documentation is not credible.”

The Board was similarly unpersuaded by arguments that Boutros was noncompliant with treatment. That argument wasn’t properly raised before the trial court.

But even if it had been, the Board said that Boutros offered explanations for declining certain treatments, which the lower court found reasonable. The Board saw no reason to disturb that finding.

The case is available here.

Photo by Judge Audrey Headrick, Chattanooga.

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