Board Affirms Opinion on Reasonable Necessity of Treatment (But Splits on Fees)

By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville On Friday, the Appeals Board released an opinion affirming a trial Court decision that a proposed treatment is reasonable and necessary when the treating physicians, who examined the injured worker, recommended it. The employer’s reliance on a utilization review opinion saying the employee was a “suboptimal candidate” for the … Continue reading Board Affirms Opinion on Reasonable Necessity of Treatment (But Splits on Fees)

Who’s Who: Court Clerk Edition

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

Appeals Board Releases Two Opinions from October Oral Arguments

By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville Earlier this week, the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board affirmed a pair of trial court rulings about an employer’s right to a medical examination and the exclusion of expert testimony when an attorney didn’t comply with a scheduling deadline. The Board held oral argument in both cases last month. … Continue reading Appeals Board Releases Two Opinions from October Oral Arguments

What’s New at the Appeals Board?

We’re glad you asked! First, on Monday, new rules became effective that govern the appeals process for both interlocutory appeals and compensation order appeals. They are available here. The rules didn't revise any deadlines or make other significant substantive changes, but they now incorporate the Board’s former Practices and Procedures into the administrative rules. Second, … Continue reading What’s New at the Appeals Board?

Board Reverses Causation Decision in Complex Occupational Disease Case

By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville Last week, the Appeals Board reversed a trial court determination finding medical causation in a case where the employee alleged liver, kidney and cardiac conditions as occupational diseases. According to the Board, the lower court should’ve accepted the employer’s experts’ opinions because they were better qualified and didn’t rely … Continue reading Board Reverses Causation Decision in Complex Occupational Disease Case

Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction Precludes an Election of Remedies

By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville The Supreme Court Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel revived a case earlier this week, holding that an injured worker didn’t elect to pursue his claim in Georgia when that state’s tribunal found he didn’t have subject matter jurisdiction. The ruling reinstates the decision of Tennessee Court of Workers’ Compensation … Continue reading Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction Precludes an Election of Remedies

Supreme Court Panel Opinions, 2019

By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville Welcome back once again to our review of last year’s workers’ compensation appellate opinions. This article will summarize the 2019 opinions from the Tennessee Supreme Court Special Workers’ Compensation Panel. First up are appeals from the Court of Workers' Compensation Claims applying the “new law.” Then I’ll mention a … Continue reading Supreme Court Panel Opinions, 2019

Appeals Board simplifies notice procedure with new form

Starting now, parties who wish to appeal an opinion from the Court of Workers' Compensation Claims with the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Appeals Board may use this new form to initiate the appeal. The new form means the Board is doing away with the two separate forms it currently uses (Compensation Hearing Notice of Appeal-LB-1103, and … Continue reading Appeals Board simplifies notice procedure with new form

Revisiting 2019 Appeals Board Decisions

By Jane Salem, staff attorney, Nashville Welcome back to our annual year-in-review series of articles. This post will look at last year’s Appeals Board cases on compensability, defenses, civil procedure, evidence, and fees. Starting with compensability, the Board found no exception to the Coming-and-Going rule in Smith v. Macy’s Corp. Servs. The employee suffered injuries … Continue reading Revisiting 2019 Appeals Board Decisions

Governor Lee Appoints new Appeals Board Judge

Abbie Hudgens, administrator of the Tennessee Bureau of Workers' Compensation, announced today that Gov. Bill Lee has appointed a new Workers' Compensation Appeals Board Judge, Pele Godkin. Ms. Godkin is a former workers’ compensation specialist in what was then called the Division of Workers’ Compensation in both the Nashville and Murfreesboro offices. In 2008 she … Continue reading Governor Lee Appoints new Appeals Board Judge

Appeals Board affirms opinion on admissibility of ‘self-taught’ expert’s testimony, clarifies discovery rights

Today the Appeals Board affirmed a trial court decision denying a motion in limine that sought to exclude an expert's deposition testimony because the physician had no training in use of the AMA Guides and stated at one point that she could not recall how she arrived at her rating. In Ailshie v. TN Farm … Continue reading Appeals Board affirms opinion on admissibility of ‘self-taught’ expert’s testimony, clarifies discovery rights

Oral arguments revisit willful misconduct under Mitchell

By Sarah Byrne, staff attorney, Nashville The Tennessee Supreme Court Special Workers’ Compensation Panel, Middle Section, heard arguments on March 25 in Corey Bunton v. Sanderson Pipe Corp., a willful misconduct case appealed from the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. From the employee-appellant’s perspective, the Bunton facts illustrate what the Mitchell dissent predicted: the four-factor … Continue reading Oral arguments revisit willful misconduct under Mitchell

Panel upholds constitutionality of law foreclosing undocumented workers’ eligibility for increased PPD

Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-207(3)(F) does not allow additional permanent partial disability benefits to undocumented workers. An injured worker challenged the law in the Court of Workers' Compensation Claims, but the trial court determined it had no authority to determine the facial constitutionality of a statute. Yesterday the Tennessee Supreme Court Special Workers' Compensation Appeals … Continue reading Panel upholds constitutionality of law foreclosing undocumented workers’ eligibility for increased PPD