By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville
There’s no place like home.
Some people have to travel far from home for a settlement approval. Over the years, the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims has secured remote locations to hold settlement approval hearings.
We’ve done this because our judges are located in eight cities across the state, mostly in larger metropolitan areas. But we know that workers become injured everywhere in the State of Tennessee, and sometimes the drive to even the closest courtroom at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Claims can be a burden.
Specifically, with the assistance of local court officials (thanks to them), we’ve added regular opportunities for settlement approvals in Dresden, Clarksville, Columbia, and Morristown. Here’s a link to see the guidelines on settlements in these locations, and elsewhere.
Once a month, I make the trip to Clarksville. Often on those days, the Court sees a steady flow of parties seeking approvals. They tend to be grateful to have avoided the 44-mile or longer drive, and I’m glad we can accommodate them.
So, this is a plea directed at attorneys in the Nashville area: why don’t you accommodate them as well?
Since adding this location, in Nashville we’re still seeing attorneys seeking approvals here, where the injured worker, who is usually self-represented, lives in the Clarksville area and has made the long journey to Nashville. When asked, most of these folks say they wish they had known the settlement could occur in Clarksville.
Therefore, I’ve entered this standing order requiring that employers seeking approval of workers’ compensation claims involving residents of Montgomery, Stewart, and Houston Counties must seek approval in Clarksville on the designated day.
If you don’t know the days, it’s typically the second Tuesday of the month. The court clerk previously wrote an article about the days in 2023, but if you’re not sure, you can always contact the clerk or my staff attorney.
Of course circumstances could arise where it still makes sense to hold the approval in Nashville. If that happens, file a motion directed at me, and if you’ve shown good cause, I’ll happily grant your request.
This is simply a matter of consideration to the parties. Scheduling more than one approval to take place on the Clarksville days may save you and your clients money.
This is just the right thing to do. As the Wizard of Oz said, be a “Good Deed Doer.”