Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TWCA Reviews Whether an Employee was a Traveling Employee for the Purposes of Death Benefits


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. Emory Pegram ("Decedent") was the President of Findley & Pegram Company, Inc. ("Employer"). He died as a result of a motorcycle accident. Approximately ten minutes before the accident, he had made a bank deposit for the business. He thereafter drove past his office and home. Employer had no active projects in the direction Decedent was traveling at the time of the accident. There was, however, a potential future project in that direction. Decedent had not informed any co-workers or employees where he was going or for what purpose. He was carrying business documents, a business cell phone, and a tool.

The trial court concluded that he was a traveling employee at the time of the accident, and awarded workers' compensation death benefits to his widow. The trial court also awarded post-judgment interest for the five-month period between the announcement of the court's decision and entry of the judgment. Employer has appealed. We conclude that Decedent was not a traveling employee, but was acting in the course of his employment at the time of the accident. We further conclude that the workers' compensation statute does not authorize an award of interest prior to entry of the judgment. The judgment is modified to remove the award of post-judgment interest. It is otherwise affirmed.

Opinion may be found at:

No comments:

Post a Comment