LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY ET AL. v. TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND WORKERS' COMPENSATION DIVISION (Tenn. Ct. App. January 4, 2011)
This action was filed pursuant to the Uniform Administrative Procedures Act, Tennessee Code Annotated section 4-5-322, for contested cases. The petitioner challenges a penalty assessed by the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Workers' Compensation. The stated reason for the penalty was the failure to file Form C-20, Tennessee Employer's First Report of Work Injury, regarding eighteen injuries that occurred in January and February 2003 which were medical only injuries, meaning no disability benefits were owing. The trial court affirmed the penalty.
We find the petitioner was not afforded proper notice of the Department's basis for issuing the penalty in violation of the petitioner's due process rights under the UAPA, Tennessee Code Annotated section 4-5-307. We also find that the Department exceeded its authority by changing its "interpretation" of Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0800-2-1-.06, a rule that was unambiguous and, thus, not subject to interpretation. The trial court's holding is reversed, and this matter is remanded with instructions to vacate the penalty assessed against the petitioner.
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