JOANN DAVIS v. HARWELL ENTERPRISES (TWCA December 2, 2010)
This appeal involves the application of the statute of limitations in Tenn. Code Ann. section 50-6-203(g)(2)(B) (2008) to a suit for workers' compensation benefits.
An employee who sustained a compensable injury and who received authorized medical treatment filed a civil action in the Chancery Court for Giles County more than one year after the last payment of medical benefits. Her employer filed a "special motion to dismiss" on the ground that the suit was time-barred.
The trial court, relying on the discovery rule, denied the motion on the ground that the limitations period did not begin to run until the employee's attorney received a letter from her treating physician stating that her injury was work-related.
The Tennessee Supreme Court granted the employer permission to appeal under Tenn. R. App. P. 9 and referred the appeal to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel in accordance with Tenn. Sup. Ct. R. 51 for hearing and a report of findings of fact and conclusions of law. We have determined that the statute of limitations bars the employee's complaint and, therefore, reverse the judgment of the trial court.
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