WILLIE J. HIGH v. SUMNER COUNTY, TENNESSEE (Tenn. Ct. App. July 25, 2011)
An employee of Sumner County was injured on the job and sought disability benefits pursuant to the Sumner County compensation plan. The employee's physicians initially gave him an anatomical impairment rating of 20%, but later determined that the employee was totally disabled and could not work. The County treated the employee's disability as a permanent partial disability and offered the employee a lower settlement than if the employee's disability were treated as a total permanent disability. The employee appealed the initial offer to the administrative review board, which upheld the initial offer of settlement.
The employee petitioned the chancery court for a writ of certiorari and asked the court to review the administrative decision and rule that it was arbitrary and capricious. The chancery court found the review board should have considered whether the employee was totally disabled based on the evidence in the record and remanded the case back to the review board for this purpose. The County appealed, and we affirm the trial court's decision. The plain language of the county plan does not support the administrative decision not to consider the employee's total disability in determining the compensation he is entitled to receive.
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