SARAH LOUISE BEAN v. TEPRO, INC. (TWCA February 28, 2011)
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.
Sarah Louise Bean ("Employee") sustained bilateral shoulder injuries in the course and scope of her employment with Tepro, Inc. ("Employer"). After undergoing surgery on both shoulders, she was released to return to work. Employer was facing reduced work volume at this time, and Employee worked only one day over the course of the next two months. She worked sporadically during the next four months and then was laid off indefinitely due to economic conditions. During the layoff, she applied for and received Social Security disability benefits. When she was called back to work after four months of layoff, she declined to return.
At trial, the trial judge heard proof regarding the extent of Employee's permanent physical impairment from Employee's evaluating physician, Employee's treating physician, and a Medical Impairment Registry ("MIR") physician. After the conclusion of the proof, the trial court determined that Employee had sustained a permanent physical impairment of 19% to the body as a whole, that the impairment rating assigned by the MIR physician was rebutted by clear and convincing evidence, that the Employee was subject to the cap imposed by Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A), and that she was entitled to an award of 28% permanent partial disability ("PPD") benefits. Both parties challenge the trial court's decision. After review, we modify the award of PPD to 21%, reduce the award of discretionary costs by $800, and affirm the remainder of the trial court's judgment.
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