In-Person Oral Arguments Return

Later this week, the Appeals Board will return to in-person oral arguments after a two-year hiatus. During the pandemic, the Board used teleconferencing for arguments. The upcoming arguments will take place on Friday, December 2, at the Supreme Court Building in Nashville.

First up will be a pair of cases presenting similar issues, Arlene Ernstes v. Printpack and James Ernstes v. Printpack. The Ernstes are married. Both worked for Printpack for decades and alleged hearing losses due to long-term exposure to loud machinery. The trial court awarded benefits after compensation hearings in both cases. On appeal, Printpack is challenging the sufficiency of their notices regarding gradually occurring injuries.

The third set of arguments is for Wilson v. Randstad, reviewing an expedited hearing order granting benefits. Notice is an issue in this case as well. Randstad also challenges the “specific incident” requirement and medical causation. Interestingly, even the trial court acknowledged that the issues were “close calls.”

The fourth and final arguments are about appeals. The Appeals Board found an appeal frivolous in Scruggs v. Amazon.com Services, LLC and remanded for the trial court to award fees, which it did in an interlocutory order. Amazon contends that the Bureau administrator exceeded her authority in creating a regulation that allows the Board to award fees after finding an appeal frivolous.

The arguments begin at 9:00 a.m. Central Time. The docket is available here.

A mirror image of the late fall foliage at Radnor Lake in Nashville. Photo taken last week by staff attorney Jane Salem, Nashville.

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