DOYLE ALLEN CASTLE v. SULLIVAN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT (TWCA February 16, 2012)
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.
The employee, a sheriff's deputy, alleged that he sustained a mental injury as a result of a confrontation that occurred while he was serving an eviction warrant. His employer denied the claim and filed a motion for summary judgment, contending that the injury was not compensable because the alleged precipitating event was not unusual or abnormal for a deputy.
The trial court granted summary judgment for the employer. On appeal, the employee contends that the trial court erred by concluding that there was not a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the incident in question was sufficiently extraordinary or unusual to support a mental injury claim. Because there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the injury qualified as extraordinary and unusual or was merely the result of stress ordinarily experienced in the line of duty, the judgment is reversed, and the cause is remanded for trial.
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