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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Feb 28, 2012

Court: TN Supreme Court

Attorneys 1: James M. Davis, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Roger Dale Williamson.

Attorneys 2: Reuben N. Pelot, IV, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Baptist Hospital of Cocke County, Inc.

Judge(s): WADE

The employee, a certified nursing assistant, sustained an injury to his shoulder while moving a patient. Six months later, the employee returned to work with significant restrictions on the use of his right arm. After two weeks of on-the-job training as a phlebotomist, which offered a higher pay grade, the employee notified the employer of his resignation, believing that he would be unable to handle the duties associated with his new position. When he made a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, the trial court, accrediting the testimony of the employee, held that he did not have a meaningful return to work and applied a multiplier of six to the assigned impairment rating. A special workers’ compensation panel reversed, concluding that the evidence preponderated against the trial court’s ruling that the employee had not made a meaningful return to work and reducing the award to one-and-one-half times the impairment rating. Because the evidence demonstrates that the employee did have a meaningful return to work, the judgment of the panel is affirmed.