By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville In previous years, I’ve made it a practice to travel across Tennessee to gather comments and answer questions from the public and practicing bar about the state of the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. These meetings have been referred to as “Listening Tours” and “Coffee with the Court.” … Continue reading Open for Comments and Questions
By Judge Joshua Davis Baker, Nashville You might recall that last year, the pandemic hit about the time the legislature was taking up the issue of the “sunset” status of the attorney’s fee provision in Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-226(d)(1)(B). This applies in cases when an employer “wrongfully denies a claim or wrongfully fails to … Continue reading Lawmakers Reinstate Attorney Fee Provision (And Don’t Forget the Affidavit)
By Jane Salem, staff attorney In March 2020, my colleague Sarah Byrne and I suddenly were tasked with scheduling telephone settlement approval hearings in the Nashville office. The new responsibility has had an unforeseen but pleasant consequence: we’ve gotten to know some of your staff members better. A very small number was a little prickly … Continue reading Don’t Throw Your Paralegal Under the Bus
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 … Continue reading Panel Adopts Appeals Board’s Opinion in TTD case
We are cautiously optimistic about returning to in-person approvals. But for now we must maintain hearing settlements by phone for obvious reasons. We’ll check back with you sometime after the solstice. Be patient and above all safe, friends. Thanks.
By the Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims Who knew we’d be at this for more than a year in March 2020, when we were all sent home? No one. The pandemic has been the most unusual and solemn life event for us all. Now that there’s an end in sight, with many of us … Continue reading Lessons Learned from the Past Year
By Abbie Hudgens, Administrator, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Seven years have flown by since the creation of the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. In 2014, eight judges were appointed after a rigorous application and interview process. In that first year, they handled Requests for Assistance for cases with dates of injury before July 1, 2014, … Continue reading Seeking Your Feedback for Judicial Reappointments
By Judge Lisa Lowe, Knoxville Epictetus, a Greek philosopher, said we have two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk. Stephen Covey said most people do not listen with the intent to understand—most people listen with the intent to reply. We at the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims … Continue reading Can You Hear Me Now?
By Olivia Yearwood, Clerk of Court, Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, Nashville If you’re navigating the court process through the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, you’re most likely interacting with Penny Shrum, clerk for the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims, or me, Olivia Yearwood, clerk for the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. The rules governing the Court … Continue reading Who’s Who: Court Clerk Edition
By Judge Thomas Wyatt, Chattanooga In the past six and a half years, you’d think our twelve judges in seven locations would’ve addressed every conceivable procedural issue. NOT SO! To the contrary, we’re constantly amazed at how many new issues arise out of the clear blue sky. In fact, a week does not go by … Continue reading Protecting Confidential Billing Info–A Road Less Traveled
By Judge Pamela Johnson, Knoxville; Judge Dale Tipps, Murfreesboro; and Judge Josh Baker, Nashville Can you teach old dogs new tricks? We believe you can and must when it comes to settling your case in the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. A landmark change took place approximately one year ago now, when we went to … Continue reading Consider these Settlement Tips from the Coworkers
By Judge Dale Tipps, Murfreesboro Someone recently forwarded me a list of pet peeves compiled by a judge in another state. The list contains seventy-eight items, and many of them pulled no punches. In the interest of promoting a kinder, gentler blog, I decided to rework the list into ten suggestions for keeping your trial … Continue reading Keeping the Court Happy and Content
By Judge Brian Addington, Gray I love telling stories, whether they’re real or made up. I found great pleasure in creating stories for my son when he was little. Often, it didn’t have to be very serious or exciting. One of his favorites was about him bouncing a ball. He wanted me to tell it … Continue reading What’s Your Story?
The Governor has closed state office buildings in some Tennessee counties on February 16 due to inclement weather. However, if you have a previously scheduled telephone hearing on that day, including a settlement approval, it is still going to proceed. Most Bureau employees are working remotely and will be on the job, including court staff … Continue reading Telephone Hearings are on for February 16, 2021
By Judge Allen Phillips, Jackson “The face is a picture of the mind as the eyes are its interpreter.”–Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher (106-43 BC). The COVID-19 pandemic has changed human interaction in dramatic ways: working remotely, home-schooling, and limited or no in-person attendance in public forums. The judicial system is no exception. Nationwide, courts … Continue reading Credibility in the Time of Covid-19
By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville Thanks for reading this final installment of my three-part series on appellate opinions issued last year. As the title suggests, this article revisits decisions from Supreme Court Panels. Please read them; don’t rely just on my cursory analyses. Thanks. I’ll begin with a case from the Claims Commission. In … Continue reading 2020 Supreme Court Panel Opinions in Review
By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville Welcome back to my annual review of last year’s Appeals Board opinions. Of course, for years to come, mention of the word “2020” will spark memories of the pandemic. But do you know how many Board opinions actually involved COVID-19? Just a couple so far, and tangentially only. But … Continue reading 2020 Opinions, Revisited, Part two
By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville What a year! The memes abound about 2020, most of which contain language or images unsuitable for this forum. (Here are a few from Reader’s Digest that are less likely to offend.) But regardless of last year’s tragedies, disruptions of our work and personal activities, and social and political … Continue reading A Look Back at 2020 Appeals Board Opinions, part one
By Judge Robert Durham, Cookeville In this new world we have to share with COVID-19, many of our traditional ways of doing things have been challenged or even eliminated. One of those is in-person settlement approvals, which simply aren’t feasible while social-distancing. However, the Court’s duty remains to see that injured workers understand what their … Continue reading Phoning it in
By Penny Shrum, Court Clerk, Nashville Over the past six years, admittedly, a lot has changed in workers’ compensation in Tennessee. You have graciously adapted to these changes. We know change can be hard. But when faced with the prospect of change, we suggest you look to the wisdom of the Brady Bunch: “when it’s … Continue reading It’s Time to Change