State Supreme Court Rules On Workers' Compensation Multiplier For Temporary Employees

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Tennessee Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that an employee of a temporary agency who is injured on the job, but not returned to work by the temporary agency at a wage equal to or greater than the pre-injury wage, may obtain workers’ compensation benefits up to six times the medical impairment rating, as would a permanent employee in the same circumstances.

In Timmy Dale Britt v. Dyer’s Employment Agency, Mr. Britt was employed by Dyer’s Employment Agency and assigned to work at Mark IV in September 2008. Mr. Britt became injured on the job and sought medical care for carpel tunnel syndrome that resulted in surgery. The doctor determined Mr. Britt had a 4% permanent medical impairment. Mr. Britt’s assignment at Mark IV ended shortly after the injury and Dyer’s terminated his employment consistent with its business routine when temporary assignments ended.

In awarding workers’ compensation benefits, the trial court looked to statutes limiting awards either to 1) one and one-half times the medical impairment rating, if an injured worker returns to work for the pre-injury employer at a wage equal to or greater than the pre-injury wage, or 2) six times the medical impairment rating if the injured worker does not return to work for the pre-injury employer.  Although Mr. Britt did not return to work, the trial court applied the lesser multiplier based on the temporary nature of Mr. Britt’s employment arrangement.

In its Opinion, the Supreme Court determined that the statutory language does not distinguish between permanent and temporary employees nor require consideration of business practices.  The Supreme Court held that because the employer neither returned the employee to work, nor offered him an opportunity to return to work, nor terminated his employment for misconduct, the statute authorizing benefits up to six times the medical impairment rating applies.  The Supreme Court returned the case to the trial court to re-consider the award under the appropriate statute.

To read the Timmy Dale Britt v. Dyer’s Employment Agency opinion, authored by Justice Cornelia A. Clark, visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov.


Supreme Court Plans Public Hearing And Interviews Of Attorney General Applicants

The Tennessee Supreme Court will conduct public hearings and interviews on Monday of the eight applicants for Attorney General and Reporter. The meetings will be held in Nashville at Legislative Plaza, Room HR16, 301 6th Ave N, Nashville, 37243 starting at 9 a.m. CDT. Each candidate is required to speak on his own behalf for no longer than 10 minutes. Candidates may have ... (click for more)

Ellie's Fine Lingerie Recognized For "Best Interior Design"

Ellie’s Fine Lingerie in Warehouse Row was awarded top honors at the Best of Intima Awards held earlier this month in New York, N.Y. by Intima Magazine. It is the premium lingerie and beachwear publication for the U.S. and Canada. The Best of Intima Awards jury was comprised of 20 high-end brands responsible for nominating and selecting award-worthy retailers. This year’s jury selected ... (click for more)

Rhasean Lowry, 34, Charged In Death of 3-Year-Old Girl

Rhasean Lowry, 34, was arrested for abusing a three-year-old girl, and then criminal homicide after she died. Last Tuesday, the Chattanooga Police Department was called on a suspected child abuse case. Lowry took the victim to a local hospital and he stated the victim fell down steps. Doctors advised that the victim’s injuries were the result of blunt force trauma consistent ... (click for more)

City IDB Member Who Made Motion For $9 Million Black Creek TIF Had Not Lived In City For Years

A City Industrial Development Board (IDB) member who made the motion to approve a controversial $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) had not lived in the city for years, City Attorney Wade Hinton confirmed. Chris Ramsey, a BlueCross BlueShield official, was not present at an IDB meeting on Tuesday morning. Five other board members were. Citizen Helen Burns ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library - And Response

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)