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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Mar 21, 2013

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Stuart F. James and Anthony M. Kestner, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellant, Central Mutual Insurance Company.

Attorneys 2:

Floyd Don Davis and Norris A. Kessler, III, Winchester, Tennessee, for the appellee, Anthony W. Welcher.

Judge(s): MCGINLEY

This workers’ compensation appeal arises from a petition for post-judgment medical care. The trial court initially found that the employee had sustained a compensable injury to his neck and awarded benefits, including future medical care. Shortly after the entry of a final judgment, which designated a treating physician, a dispute arose over employee’s medical treatment and a proposed surgical procedure. The employee petitioned the trial court to direct his employer to pay for his medical treatment. The employer requested an independent medical evaluation. The surgery took place while the petition was pending. Several days later, the employee suffered a brain hemorrhage. The trial court ruled that the surgical procedure was reasonably related to the work injury, but the hemorrhage was not; thus, it directed the employer to pay for the former but not the latter. After additional proceedings, the trial court awarded attorneys’ fees to the employee, but not the full amount requested. The employer has appealed, contending that the fee award is excessive. The employee contends that the trial court erred by finding that treatment of the hemorrhage was not related to his work injury and by not awarding the attorneys’ fees requested. The appeal has been referred to the Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel for a hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. We affirm the judgment of the trial court declining to order the employer to provide treatment for the hemorrhage. Because the record is insufficient to allow for review, we vacate the trial court’s award of attorneys’ fees and remand for further proceedings consistent with this decision.