By Jared S. Renfroe

Linda Green v. Rogers Group

Docket No. 2016-04-0085

State File No. 99072-2015

Filed December 13, 2016

 

This case involves the issue of whether the employer was entitled to a presumption of correctness that the employee’s illegal drug use was the proximate cause of the injury, when the employee’s drug test resulted in a positive finding of marijuana metabolites.

Facts

In this case, the employee fell approximately eight feet from a cat walk while working, sustaining a collapsed lung, several broken ribs and spinal injuries. At the emergency room, a urine drug test was requested, but she advised that she was in too much pain to provide urine. Subsequently, on the same date, she provided urine for a drug test, and the results were positive for marijuana metabolites. She was drug tested again a couple of months later for purposes of re-employment with the employer, and the test was again positive for marijuana metabolites. The employer denied the claim on the basis that it was a certified drug-free workplace and that it was entitled to a presumption that her drug use was a proximate cause of the injury.

The trial court concluded that the drug screening report showed marijuana metabolites in amounts less than the cut-off levels specified in the regulations to be considered presumptively positive. Thus, it held in favor of the employee and ordered a panel of physicians.

Holding

The Appeals Board held that the test results were ambiguous, and thus the trial court lacked enough information to reach its determination that the employer was not entitled to a presumption of causation. Therefore, it vacated the trial court’s order and remanded the case for the submission of additional evidence concerning the correct interpretation of the drug screening results.

 

Jared S. Renfroe is an attorney for Spicer Rudstrom PLLC. He focuses his legal practice on litigation throughout Tennessee. His concentrates primarily in premises liability, business and commercial representation, employment practices litigation, professional liability, insurance defense and workers’ compensation.

 

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