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Industry Insights

Salem: Board Sets Oral Arguments in Two Cases

  • State: Tennessee

On Wednesday, the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board will hold oral argument in a pair of cases regarding an employee’s entitlement to medical benefits while treating for work injuries.

Jane Salem

Jane Salem

In both cases, the trial courts had to weigh conflicting expert opinions over medical causation and ultimately found in favor of the injured worker.

In Grissom v. AT&T Services Inc., the trial court considered the causation opinions of physicians who, in the trial court’s estimation, treated different body parts. Specifically, the authorized physician performed shoulder surgery but said later that the employee’s lingering neck pain wasn’t work-related.

An unauthorized surgeon disagreed and performed another procedure. The court ordered additional treatment with the latter physician and that AT&T Services pay for the surgery. It has appealed.

In Johnson v. Inspire Brands dba Blazin’ Wings Inc., the case pitted the causation opinions — regarding the employee’s herniated disc of two physicians chosen from panels — against each other. The first doctor found the condition work-related and recommended surgery.

The employer pointed to treatment records from a chiropractor that preceded the work incident as proof that the injury didn’t happen at work, but the employee said she saw him for ordinary aches and pains. The employer also attacked the employee’s credibility.

The trial court ordered that Inspire authorize the surgery, and it has appealed.

The Appeals Board will hold the arguments with Teams starting at 9 a.m. Central. Click on the link in the docket to observe. Your mic will be muted unless you’re an attorney on one of the cases.

This will be Judge Meredith Weaver’s first opportunity to participate in oral arguments. Once again, welcome, Judge Weaver.

Jane Salem is a staff attorney in the Tennessee Court of Workers' Compensation Claims, Nashville. This entry is republished with permission from the court's blog.

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