Horace Thomas v. Zipp Express

Mar 23, 2017 | Featured, News, Workers' Compensation

By Courtney S. Paterson

Horace Wade Thomas v. Zipp Express, et al.                      

Docket No. 2015-06-0546

State File No. 57850-2015

Filed March 15, 2017


This is a case before the Appeals Board on an interlocutory appeal filed by the employer, and the dispute was whether the trial court erred in denying the employer’s motion for summary judgment.

The employee, Horace Wade Thomas, was employed at Zipp Express, et al as a truck driver. On February 19, 2015, he experienced a syncopal episode that he alleged was caused by work-related sleep deprivation. The employer provided him with a panel of physicians, from which he chose Dr. Garrison Strickland.

Dr. Strickland concluded that Mr. Thomas suffered from headaches following a closed head injury during a syncopal episode. With respect to causation, Dr. Strickland stated that, while he suspected sleep deprivation played a role, he could not say if work contributed more or less than 50 percent.

The employer retained Dr. Robert Weiss for a records review. Dr. Weiss opined he did not think the drop attack was 51 percent or more related to sleep deprivation. The employer then filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the employee cannot meet his burden of proof and that no physician had stated to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that his work primarily caused any injury.

The trial court denied the employer’s motion for summary judgment. The employer appealed. The Appeals Board affirmed the trial court’s decision.


An associate with Spicer Rudstrom since 2009, Courtney focuses her practice on automobile liability, insurance coverage litigation, insurance defense litigation, insurance subrogation, premises liability, products liability, and workers’ compensation. She is admitted to practice in all trial and appellate state courts in Tennessee, as well as the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.


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