June 19, 2012 — Court of Appeals Affirms $2.9 Million Personal Injury Verdict
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF TENNESSEE AT NASHVILLE August 25, 2011 Session JAMES JOHNSON AND WIFE, ELAINE JOHNSON v. THE TORRINGTON COMPANY, et al Appeal from the Circuit Court for Giles County No. CC10292 Robert Lee Holloway, Jr., Judge No. M2010-01924-COA-R3-CV — Filed June 19, 2012.
The plaintiff was severely injured while working on the premises of his employer. Because the employer was immune from liability in tort under the workers’ compensation statutes, the employee’s negligence suit named two other companies as defendants whose equipment was implicated in his injury. After a five-day trial, the jury found that the employer was solely at fault for the plaintiff’s injuries, resulting in no award. The plaintiff then filed a motion for new trial. The trial court granted the motion 10 months after it was filed, declaring that in his capacity (as the 13th juror), he had found the verdict to be against the weight of the evidence. The case was tried before a second jury, which reached a different verdict, finding that one of the defendant companies was 90 percent at fault for the plaintiff’s injury while the plaintiff himself was 10 percent at fault. The net verdict for the plaintiff amounted to $2,925,000. The defendant company argues on appeal that the trial court erred in vacating the first jury verdict, that the second jury verdict was “contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence,” and that the amount of the verdict was excessive. We affirm the jury verdict and the judgment based on it. Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed PATRICIA J. COTTRELL, P.J., M.S., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ANDY D. BENNETT and RICHARD H. DINKINS, JJ., joined. James Campbell Bradshaw, Michael David Hornback, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, The Torrington Company. Ben Boston , Christopher V. Sockwell, Ryan P. Durham, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellees, James Johnson and wife, Elaine Johnson.
June 14, 2012 — Workers’ Compensation, Medicals To Be Paid By Employer
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE SPECIAL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION APPEALS PANEL AT NASHVILLE April 16, 2012 Session ALTON B. KEPHART, JR. v. HUGHES HARDWOOD INTERNATIONAL, INC., et al. Appeal from the Chancery Court for Wayne County No. 11355 Robert L. Jones, Judge No. M2011-01568-WC-R3-WC — Mailed June 14, 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 sustained a compensable injury to his lower back in August 2002, which was settled in May 2006. Thereafter the employee continued to be treated by his authorized treating physician. In 2009, the employer requested, and the employee consented to an independent medical examination. Thereafter the employer requested another independent medical examination. The employee declined. In April 2011, the employer filed a motion seeking to require the employee to submit to a medical examination pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated section 50-6-204(d)(1) and Tennessee Rule of Civil Procedure 35. The trial court denied the motion, and the employer has appealed. We affirm the judgment. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-225(e) (2008) Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court Affirmed E. RILEY ANDERSON, SP. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WALTER C. KURTZ, SR. J., joined. CORNELIA A. CLARK, C. J., not participating. Clifford Wilson and Colin W. Turner, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Hughes Hardwood International, Inc. and Berkley Risk Administrators Co., LLC. Ben Boston and Ryan P. Durham, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellee, Alton B. Kephart, Jr.
September 11, 2011 — TN Supreme Court Affirms Permanent Total Disability Award
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF TENNESSEE SPECIAL WORKERS’ COMPENSATION APPEALS PANEL AT NASHVILLE April 25, 2011 Session SEAN L. JOHNSON v. RANDSTAD NORTH AMERICA, L.P. et al. Appeal from the Chancery Court for Lawrence County No. 13713-08 Jim T. Hamilton, Judge No. M2010-01562-WC-R3-WC — Mailed August 5, 2011. Filed September 8, 2011.
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 suffered an episode of serious breathing difficulty after work while at home. He was transported by ambulance to a hospital where an emergency tracheotomy was performed to allow him to breathe. He alleged that this episode was caused by exposure to airborne contaminants in his workplace. His employer denied the claim. The trial court found that the employee had sustained a compensable injury and awarded permanent total disability benefits. The employer has appealed, contending that the trial court erred by finding that employee had a compensable injury, and by finding him to be permanently and totally disabled. We affirm the judgment. Tenn. Code Ann. § 50-6-225(e) (2008) Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery Court Affirmed E. RILEY ANDERSON, SP. J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which CORNELIA A. CLARK, C. J., and DONALD P. HARRIS, SR. J., joined. Cole B. Stinson, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Randstad North America, L. P. and Ace American Insurance Company. Ben Boston and Ryan P. Durham, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sean L. Johnson.
July 21, 2011 — Court of Appeals Finds For Employee In $700,000 Contract Dispute
IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF TENNESSEE AT NASHVILLE, January 19, 2011 Session STEPHEN BROWN v. COLUMBIA PRECAST, LLC, et al Appeal from the Circuit Court for Maury County No. 10988 Jim T. Hamilton, Judge No. M2010-00971-COA-R3-CV — Filed July 21, 2011.
An employee was promised 10 percent ownership interest in the company he worked for if he stayed with the company for six years. When the time came to transfer the employee’s 10 percent interest to him, however, the parties learned that the tax laws then in effect made the transfer impractical at that time. The parties therefore decided to delay the transfer. The parties entered into a contract the following year which the employer interpreted to mean that the employee was giving up his 10 percent ownership interest in exchange for a raise in his salary plus 10 percent of the company’s net profits each year. The employee claimed he did not give up his 10 percent ownership interest and sued the company and former majority owner for his 10 percent interest when the company was sold a few years later. The trial court concluded the employee did not give up his 10 percent ownership interest by signing the later agreement and awarded the employee 10 percent of the company’s net profits for the years following the employee’s termination plus 10 percent of the ultimate purchase price. The court granted Mr. Brown a judgment against the company and the Teagues jointly and severally for $700,760.79. This amount represents 10 percent of the 2008 purchase price of the company ($400,000) as well as 10 percent of the net profits for 2005 ($60,020), 2006 ($90,861.31), 2007 ($24,581.10) and 2008 ($125,298.38). The court dismissed the complaint against Mr. Taylor. We affirm the trial court’s judgment. Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit Court Affirmed P ATRICIA J. COTTRELL, P.J., M.S., delivered the opinion of the court, in which FRANK G. C LEMENT, JR. and RICHARD H. DINKINS, JJ., joined. T. Jake Wolaver, Columbia, Tennessee; John D. Kitch, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellants, Columbia Precast, LLC, Roger Teague, Barbara Teague. Ben Boston and Ryan P. Durham, Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, for the appellee , Stephen Brown.