The Tennessee Attorney General issued an opinion on April 17, 2012, concerning the constitutionality of requiring claimants receiving pain management treatment under the Workers’ Compensation Act to agree in writing to submit to random drug tests. According to the opinion, “A court would most likely find the drug testing provision . . . constitutionally suspect under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution and Article 1, Section 7 of the Tennessee Constitution.” Opinion No. 12-47.
TCA 50-6-204(g)(2)(B) allows a Department of Labor Specialist to award attorney fees on post-settlement/judgment medical issues under the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act. Last month, the Davidson County Chancery Court found that judicial review of such awards, provided for by TCA 50-6-204(g)(2)(D)(ii), violates Due Process, and is therefore void. The ramification of this decision is to essentially strip the Department of Labor of the ability to dispose of post-settlement/judgment medical issues in workers’ compensation cases. Workers’ compensation practitioners would be wise to avoid using the TNDOL process to handle post-settlement/judgment medical issues.
Over the next few weeks, we will provide a short summary of the some of the important Tennessee workers’ compensation cases that were issued last year. We will begin with a Tennessee Supreme Court case addressing “scope” of employment. In Dixon v. Travelers Indemnity Col, 336 S.W.3d 532 (Tenn. 2011), the employee was a truck driver that was injured as the result of a tornado. The Court held the injuries sustained as a result of the tornado were compensable because his job as a truck driver placed him at a higher risk of injury from a tornado than the general public.
The Hamilton Firm routinely represents injured truck drivers, with extensive experience representing employees of Covenant Transport and US Xpress. If you are a truck driver and have been injured on the job, feel free to contact our office.