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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jul 26, 2013

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Lee Anne Murray and Shea M. Brakefield, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Fentress Farmers Cooperative and Sentry Insurance A Mutual Company.

Attorneys 2:

Michael Anthony Walker, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Dan A. Conatser.

Judge(s): HARRIS

In this workers’ compensation action, the employee sustained multiple injuries in a workrelated incident in April 2005, when approximately 1,500 pounds of stockade gates fell on him. The employee later returned to work for the employer in his previous position as a truck driver. The parties settled the employee’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits based upon a 34.5% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole, plus future medical benefits. The employee continued having bilateral shoulder pain as a result of his injuries and in August 2008 had surgery on his left shoulder to repair a torn rotator cuff. After the surgery, however, he developed an infection and required a second surgery, which revealed the failure of the rotator cuff repair. Because of the poor result of those surgeries, the employee declined the recommended surgery on his right shoulder. In February 2011, the employee filed a complaint seeking reconsideration of his previous award, alleging that he had ceased working for the employer in January 2010 because he could no longer physically perform his duties due to his earlier compensable injuries. The trial court found that the employee was entitled to reconsideration and awarded additional permanent partial disability benefits (with credit for the benefits previously paid). The employer has appealed. Pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51, this workers’ compensation 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. We affirm the trial court’s finding that the employee is entitled to reconsideration but reverse its finding as to permanent partial disability.