Friday, June 18, 2010

Worker's Compensation Panel reviews reconsideration action and subject matter jurisdiction.


These workers' compensation appeals were consolidated for hearing and disposition by order dated May 27, 2009. The employee, Larry Beshires, settled a claim for work-related injuries to his left knee and right shoulder, based upon the two and one-half times impairment cap in Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(a)(1). The settlement was approved by the Chancery Court of Fayette County.

Mr. Beshires subsequently sustained a second injury, or aggravation of the previous injury, to his shoulder. He returned to work for a time, but then retired. He filed suit in the Chester County Chancery Court, seeking benefits for the new injury or, alternatively, reconsideration of his prior settlement. The reconsideration action was transferred to the Chancery Court of Fayette County. After a hearing on the merits, the Fayette County court declined to award additional benefits. The Chester County court awarded 48% permanent partial disability to the body as a whole for the later injury.

Both sides have appealed, and the appeals have been consolidated by order of the Supreme Court. Mr. Beshires contends that the Fayette County court erred by failing to award additional benefits. The employer contends that the Chester County court did not have subject matter jurisdiction, because the benefit review conference process had not been exhausted. We affirm both judgments.

Opinion may be found at:

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