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
By Chief Judge Kenneth M. Switzer We took the show on the road. Beginning in Murfreesboro on November 15 and ending in Knoxville on December 14, Brian Holmes, Director of Mediation and Ombudsmen Services of Tennessee (MOST), and I traveled the state conducting “listening sessions” on the mediation and court system. We visited each of … Continue reading Lessons Learned from the Listening Tour
By Sarah G. Byrne Shortly before Christmas, my brother posted a picture of my nephew on Facebook. He was sporting a tee-shirt challenging Santa to define the word “good.” My first thought: He’ll be a lawyer. After all, lawyers are wordsmiths who agonize over every word in order to re-define the rules. Speaking of, the … Continue reading Re-defining the UR Rules
In a recent case scheduled for a compensation hearing, the judge noticed a few days prior that counsel filed nothing since the last court appearance. Staff contacted the lawyers, who indicated they were negotiating a settlement, needed a continuance and that they would file a motion. On the day of the hearing, no one appeared … Continue reading Keep us in the Loop
Every few months or so, we take a fresh look at our Practices and Procedures with an eye toward if they’re working well in the application. We also consider if anything new should be added in light of recent experience. Thus, we have revised the Practices and Procedures as follows. Rule 1.03, Subsection J Promptness for … Continue reading Practices and Procedures Updated
By Judge Robert V. Durham, Cookeville Anything new is rarely perfect on the first try. Just ask Thomas Edison, who had to experiment with thousands of different materials and shapes before discovering the best filament to create a commercially viable light bulb. While none of us in the Court of Workers’ Compensation pretends to be … Continue reading New Mediation and Hearing Procedures Take Effect TODAY
“Knowledge speaks, but wisdom listens.” This will be our mantra when conducting a series of listening sessions across the state over the coming month. The Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims and Mediation and Ombudsman Services of Tennessee want to hear from you. We are traveling to locations nearby or at all eight offices of the … Continue reading Mark your Calendars
By Judge Allen Phillips, Jackson "Let's get on down To the main attraction, With a little less talk And a lot more action." I feel reasonably confident that Toby Keith was NOT referring to Tennessee Compilation Rule and Regulation 0800-21-02-.16 in the above refrain. However, the Court of Workers’ Compensation Claims now has a … Continue reading Getting on Down to the Main Attraction