Thursday, December 2, 2010

TWCA Reviews Whether the Statute of Limitations Bars an Employee’s Complaint


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.

Opinion available at:

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