By Judge Pamela B. Johnson, Knoxville For any chance of success, parties to a workers’ compensation claim in Tennessee must familiarize themselves with the statute as well as the many applicable rules and regulations. Some have said the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation and the Court have too many rules. We agreed. So, we worked to … Continue reading New and improved rules take effect today
By Jane Salem, Staff Attorney, Nashville Judge Robert Durham’s most recent blog post generated comments from court reporters, which deserve some follow-up. So here goes. [Official Disclaimer and Apology: These are the musings of a staff attorney, rather than official pronouncements of law from the Court. OK? Good. Also, unlike Judge Durham, I’m incapable of … Continue reading Better Get it in Writing: A Few Takeaways
The public hearing on the proposed revisions to the Mediation and Hearing Procedures for the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims is Tuesday, October 30, at 10:00 a.m. Central Time at the Bureau of Workers' Compensation in the Tennessee Room, 220 French Landing Drive in Nashville. This is your opportunity to voice your opinion. Members of … Continue reading See you next week
By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville When the Court began operating in July 2014, we already had a set of “rules” called the Mediation and Hearing Procedures. These rules were prepared before any judges were appointed and any “new law” injuries occurred. They were based on the statute and anticipated how the process would … Continue reading Rules Reorganization is Under Way
By Jeff Francis, Assistant Administrator, Nashville The Bureau recently revised its General Rules. The revised rules took effect on May 31 and were designed to make claims handling more efficient and uniform. In summary, the revisions include: Carriers are now required to provide employers a copy of the Notice of Employer Rights and Responsibilities whenever a … Continue reading New General Rules Take Effect
By Chief Judge Kenneth Switzer, Nashville Our recent “Coffee with the Court” series raised several questions about the dispute certification notice, a/k/a the “DCN,” and its contents. As we all know, the DCN identifies the issues that will be before the Court. The DCN content is based on the parties’ discussions in mediation and should … Continue reading Solving the DCN Dilemma
By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville During April, I toured the state’s three largest cities and attended “Coffee with the Court” conducted by the local Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims’ offices. The purpose of these coffee-talks was to listen to lawyers and other stakeholders discuss issues they face daily. I took copious notes. The … Continue reading Lessons Learned from “Coffee with the Court”
In June 2014, a group of fresh-faced workers’ compensation judges in Tennessee – none of whom had actually heard a case yet – developed a set of rules for the newly minted Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. They relied on their lengthy collective experience as trial attorneys and specialist 4s to come up with a … Continue reading Changing the Rules
The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board recently set four cases for oral argument in Knoxville on April 26. Starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, the Board will take up Yeaman v. Kindred Health Care, where the Court denied a motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute. Afterward, counsel will argue whether the Court properly held … Continue reading Appeals Board Sets Knoxville Oral Arguments, Revises Rules
By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville In case you missed it ̶ and most did ̶ the Legislature renamed the Second Injury Fund last session. Now known as the “Subsequent Injury and Vocational Rehabilitation Fund,” its responsibilities remain much the same for those practicing in this area. The “vocational rehabilitation” part is a topic … Continue reading Naming the SIF as a Party in your Case
By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville We are on your "nice" list, right? We suggest that you consider these gift-like actions of counsel in these recent, distinct cases: The parties submitted a joint motion along with a draft order for the Court’s signature. They took it one step further, including a Word version of … Continue reading Your Gift to the Court
By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville In June 2016 at the Bureau’s annual Educational Conference, we discussed the rule changes that were making their way through the administrative jungle toward final approval. That process takes about one year from the time of proposal until being finalized and approved. That set of rules took effect … Continue reading Guide Us in the Right Direction
By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer, Nashville Great news: There’s one less document to file when preparing for trial in the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims. As of Oct. 1, you no longer need to file an amended Petition for Benefit Determination (PBD) to get the ball rolling on post-discovery mediation. For a little background, … Continue reading Court Tweaks Procedure for Setting Post-discovery ADR
By Judge Robert Durham, Cookeville Cell phones. The term is so inadequate, it’s almost quaint. To call the portable computer in your purse or attached to your hip a phone is like calling an automobile a portable radio. Today, they are ubiquitous, and frankly it would be foolhardy to practice law without one. However, many … Continue reading But I’m Entitled to One Phone Call, Right?
By Judge Allen Phillips Lawyers often file briefs in advance of evidentiary hearings, some of which are very helpful toward clarifying the issues, highlighting the critical evidence and identifying the applicable law. Other briefs are not so helpful; in fact, the word "kafka-esque" comes to mind. It's that second category that inspired this post about … Continue reading I’ll be Brief…
By Sarah Byrne, Staff Attorney, Nashville When studying for the bar exam, I dreamed I was living in a glass house. All eyes were on me. Clearly, my mind was coping with fear of others’ judgments, since everyone whose opinion mattered knew I was sitting for the exam. Speaking of judgments, here is an important … Continue reading Where to file your Supreme Court Notice of Appeal
By Judge Lisa A. Lowe, Knoxville Several months ago, a committee was formed within the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation to examine the process of the issuance of the dispute certification notice. The committee consisted of judges, mediators and program coordinators. One of its goals was to ensure greater consistency with regard to which documents are … Continue reading In re Cooperation
By Judge Joshua Davis Baker, Nashville As all legal practitioners know, discovery is as common as a cold. As we also know, it can be laborious, time-consuming, frustrating and, at times, downright non-productive. However, like the mail, neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow can prevent it from happening. In the Court’s three-year history, the … Continue reading Discovery Dos and … please don’t do that!
By Judge Pamela B. Johnson, Knoxville “We’ll see.” It is a phrase so many of us heard as children and, if you’re like me, it is a phrase you now use with your own children. Q: “Mom, can we stop for ice cream?” A: “We’ll see.” Q: “Mom, can I buy a toy?” A: “We’ll … Continue reading Can I wait a year to refile after a dismissal without prejudice?
By Judge Kenneth M. Switzer Welcome back to our discussion regarding the emerging themes from our recent listening sessions. As a reminder, Brian Holmes, Director of Mediation and Ombudsmen Services of Tennessee (MOST), and I visited each Bureau office in November and December to meet with practitioners and hear how the post-July 1, 2014 system … Continue reading Lessons Learned, Part Two