DANA AUTOMOTIVE SYSTEMS GROUP, LLC ET AL. v. LARRY EVANS (TWCA August 2, 2012)
An employee developed carpal tunnel syndrome. Before receiving medical treatment for that condition, he accepted an offer from his employer to resign in exchange for a lump sum payment of his retirement benefits. The offer was unrelated to the work injury.
The trial court granted the employer’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-241(d)(1)(A) (2008) limited the employee’s award of benefits to one and one-half times the anatomical impairment in light of his voluntary retirement.
On the date scheduled for trial, the trial court declined to hear evidence or permit an offer of proof concerning the voluntariness of his retirement and the extent of his vocational disability. Judgment was entered awarding permanent partial disability of one and one-half times the medical impairment. The employee has appealed. We vacate the judgment and remand the case to the trial court for a determination on the merits of the case.
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