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Posted by: Landry Butler on Dec 13, 2016

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals Board

Attorneys 1:

Heather H. Douglas, Nashville, Tennessee, for the employer-appellant, Rogers Group, Inc.

Attorneys 2:

Linda Green, Carthage, Tennessee, employee-appellee, pro se.

Judge(s): HENSLEY

In this interlocutory appeal, the employer challenges the trial court’s order requiring it to provide a panel of physicians and to pay for the employee’s medical expenses arising from her work injury. The employer does not question whether the employee suffered a work-related injury, but asserts in defense of the claim that it implemented a drug-free workplace program; that the employee initially refused to submit to a drug test; that a drug test subsequently completed on the accident date revealed a positive confirmation of an illegal drug; that it is entitled to a presumption that the drug use was the proximate cause of the injury; and that the employee failed to rebut the presumption by clear and convincing evidence. The trial court determined the post-accident drug test did not establish a positive confirmation at the level prescribed by applicable regulations sufficient to entitle the employer to the presumption that the drug use was the proximate cause of the work-related injury. Because we conclude the evidence presented to date is patently ambiguous and subject to different interpretations, we vacate the trial court’s decision and remand the case for further proceedings.