David Thompson v. Comcast Corporation, et al. - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Jan 30, 2018

Court: TN Workers Comp Appeals Board

Attorneys 1:

W. Troy Hart and Christopher W. Sherman, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the employer-appellant, Comcast Corporation.

Attorneys 2:

Michael P. Fisher, Nashville, Tennessee, for the employee-appellee, David Thompson.

Judge(s): CONNER

The employee suffered injuries when he fell from a ladder at work, and the employer provided certain workers’ compensation benefits. After placing the employee at maximum medical improvement, the treating physician referred the employee for pain management, which the employer declined to authorize based upon its beliefs regarding the reasonableness and necessity of the recommended treatment, its causal connection to the work injury, and the veracity of the employee’s complaints. Following an expedited hearing, the trial court found the employee was entitled to the recommended treatment, and it further determined the employee could select a pain management provider of his choice to provide such treatment. The trial court additionally awarded the employee attorneys’ fees due to the employer’s failure to authorize the recommended treatment and referred the employer to the Bureau’s Penalty Unit to investigate whether the assessment of a penalty would be appropriate. The employer has appealed, asserting substantive and evidentiary errors. The employee asserts the appeal is frivolous and asks us to assess sanctions against the employer and/or its counsel. We affirm the trial court’s decision ordering the recommended treatment and determining the employee is entitled to reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses. We find the trial court’s admission of unauthenticated emails between counsel for the parties to be harmless error. We reverse the trial court’s decision to allow the employee to select a pain management provider without the provision of a panel. We determine that this appeal is not frivolous and deny the employee’s request for sanctions, and we remand the case for further proceedings.