• Tennessee Appeals Court Affirms Authority of Tennessee Department of Labor
  • December 9, 2011 | Author: Timothy W. Conner
  • Law Firm: Leitner, Williams, Dooley & Napolitan, PLLC - Knoxville Office
  • In two recent decisions, the Tennessee Court of Appeals has quelled efforts by employers to challenge the authority of Tennessee Department of Labor ("TDOL") Specialists to compel payment of benefits in workers' compensation cases. In Tyson Foods (Re: Sandra Gibson) v. Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, No. E2010-002277-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Oct. 10, 2011), the TDOL Specialist had ordered the employer, Tyson Foods, to commence payment of temporary disability benefits and medical benefits. In pursuing reversal of this Order through a common law writ of certiorari filed in Davidson County Chancery Court, Tyson Foods made three arguments: (1) that the TDOL Specialist had improperly engaged in ex parte communications with the employee's physicians; (2) that the TDOL had acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" by ordering benefits; and (3) that its due process rights had been violated because it had no adequate appeal opportunity from a TDOL Order. The trial judge had dismissed the employer's petition for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.