By Jared S. Renfroe
Terry Lamm v. E. Miller Construction, Inc.
Docket No. 2015-01-0429
State File No. 64870-2015
Filed June 2, 2017
In this case, the Appeals Board affirmed the trial court’s order denying summary judgment to the employer on the basis that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the injury was a compensable aggravation of a pre-existing condition.
The employee, Terry Lamm, alleged that he either suffered an acute injury or an aggravation to his pre-existing lumbar condition when he helped lift a steel H-beam while working for his employer, E. Miller Construction, Inc. He felt immediate pain in his back and left work early because the pain made him unsteady on his feet. It was noted that he had a 14-year history of chronic back pain and treatment, including pain management in two states. The employer approved some medical treatment but did not initially provide a panel of physicians. However, the trial court ordered the employer to provide a panel in a previous expedited hearing, and Dr. Jay Jolley was selected.
Dr. Jolley saw Mr. Lamm on one occasion and then completed Form C-32 at the employer’s request. He concluded that Mr. Lamm suffered a “sprain” and aggravation of his pre-existing degenerative disc disease. He opined that the work incident resulted in disablement and the need for medical treatment but also indicated that the employment activity was not primarily responsible for the present need for treatment and that the work incident resulted only in the need for brief treatment. He opined that Mr. Lamm had reached maximum medical improvement but did not complete the section regarding permanent impairment.
The employer filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that the employee is unable to prove that he sustained a compensable injury. Mr. Lamm did not respond to the motion but appeared at the hearing on the motion. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment, and the employer appealed.
The Appeals Board affirmed the decision of the trial court and held that Dr. Jolley’s opinions created a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the employee suffered a compensable aggravation of his pre-existing condition.
Jared S. Renfroe is an attorney for Spicer Rudstrom PLLC. He focuses his legal practice on litigation throughout Tennessee. He concentrates primarily on premises liability, business and commercial representation, employment practices litigation, professional liability, insurance defense, and workers’ compensation.
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