Tuesday, March 15, 2011

TWCA Reviews Whether an Employer is one that qualifies under a Second Injury Fund


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. Ricky D. Garrett ("Employee") was injured when he fell from the roof of a barn during the course and scope of his employment as a handyman for William David Brown ("Employer"), a farmer who carried worker's compensation insurance.

Subsequently, Employee filed a complaint for worker's compensation benefits against Employer and Employer's insurance carrier. Employee also named the Second Injury Fund ("the Fund") as a defendant and alleged that the injury he sustained in the fall in combination with his pre-existing disabilities rendered him totally disabled.

The trial court agreed that Employee was permanently and totally disabled as a result of the injury sustained in the fall combined with the pre-existing disabilities and awarded Employee full benefits with 40% liability for the award assigned to Employer and 60% assigned to the Fund. The Fund appealed, asserting, 1) that Employer does not meet the definition of "employer" for purposes of the Second Injury Fund statute; 2) that the proof is insufficient to show that Employer had knowledge of Employee's pre-existing disabilities; and 3) that the judgment awarded Employee was incorrectly apportioned between the Fund and the Employer. We affirm the judgment of the trial court.

Opinion available at:

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