WALTER WORD v. METRO AIR SERVICES, INC. ET AL.

In this interlocutory appeal, we must decide whether a trial court has subject matter jurisdiction over a workers’ compensation case when the time stamp on the complaint is earlier than the “time noted” on the Benefit Review Conference Report, pursuant to Benefit Review Process Rule 0800-2-5-.09(2). Because a workers’ compensation action may not be filed under Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-225(a)(2)(A) (2008) until exhaustion of the benefit review conference process, we hold that when subject matter jurisdiction over a workers’ compensation case depends upon the issuance of a Benefit Review Conference Report, the “time noted on the Report” is controlling. Moreover, we hold that the time stamp on the complaint, if unambiguous, may not be impeached with extrinsic evidence. Therefore, we reverse the trial court’s denial of the employer’s motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and dismiss this action.

Attorney 1: 

Fred J. Bissinger and Michael W. Jones, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Metro Air Services, Inc., Midwestern Insurance Alliance, and Praetorian Insurance Company.

Attorney 2: 

B. Keith Williams and James R. Stocks, Lebanon, Tennessee, for the appellee, Walter Word.

Judge: 
CLARK
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