McCaleb v. Saturn Corp.

CourtSupreme Court of Tennessee
Writing for the CourtJOSEPH C. LOSER; DROWOTA, J., and SAMUEL L. LEWIS
Citation910 S.W.2d 412
PartiesKenneth Dale McCALEB, Plaintiff/Appellee, v. SATURN CORPORATION, Defendant/Appellant.
Decision Date02 November 1995

Page 412

910 S.W.2d 412
Kenneth Dale McCALEB, Plaintiff/Appellee,
v.
SATURN CORPORATION, Defendant/Appellant.
Supreme Court of Tennessee,
Special Workers' Compensation Appeals
Panel, at Nashville.
Nov. 2, 1995.

Ray R. Slobey, Blackburn, Slobey, Freeman & Happell, Nashville, for appellant.

Joe W. Henry, Jr., Samuel B. Garner, Jr., Henry, Henry, Stack, Garner & Speer, Pulaski, for appellee.

Page 414

Members of Panel: FRANK F. DROWOTA, III, Associate Justice, Supreme Court, SAMUEL L. LEWIS, Judge, Court of Appeals, and JOSEPH C. LOSER, Jr., Retired Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Mailed July 20, 1995

JOSEPH C. LOSER, Retired Judge.

This workers' compensation appeal has been referred to the Special Workers' Compensation Appeals Panel of the Supreme Court in accordance with Tenn.Code Ann. section 50-6-225(e)(3) for hearing and reporting of findings of fact and conclusions of law. In this appeal, the employer, Saturn Corporation, has presented the following issues:

1. Whether the employee's back condition is a work related injury;

2. Whether the trial court erred in allowing an award for the employee's back condition in light of the employee's failure to provide notice to the employer within the meaning of Tenn.Code Ann. section 50-6-201;

3. Whether the trial court erred in awarding a 60% vocational disability to the employee; and

4. Whether long term disability benefits may be set off against permanent partial disability benefits.

At the time of the trial, the employee or claimant, Kenneth Dale McCaleb, was 44 years old, had a high school education and had worked for General Motors, the parent of Saturn Corporation, since he was in high school. He has a history of obesity, being some 100 pounds overweight, and knee injuries. His duties at Saturn required some physical exertion.

On December 9, 1991, the claimant slipped on a slippery substance at work and fell, injuring his right knee in the process. He worked the rest of the day. The next day he verbally reported the injury to the company nurse and was referred to the Middle Tennessee Bone and Joint Clinic in Columbia, where he first saw Dr. Eslick Daniel, then Dr. Kenneth Moore.

Dr. Moore provided conservative care and the knee improved. In May of 1992, the claimant began to have pain in his left hip and to have increased difficulty walking. Dr. Moore referred him to Dr. Jeffrey Adams of the same clinic, because Dr. Adams specializes more in back problems. The claimant has continued to see both doctors.

The claimant has walked with a limp since the accident, but the limp has become more pronounced since the hip problems surfaced. He often uses a cane. There is evidence that although the claimant has had past knee problems, he has never before had back and hip pain. He has fallen a number of times since the accident, which he attributes to the knee injury. He testified that his knee would "give out," causing him to lose his balance and fall. The claimant's testimony is corroborated by considerable lay evidence.

The claimant has a permanent medical impairment of 7.5% to his right knee and is restricted from walking more than 50% of the work day. The employer does not dispute that the accident occurred or that it was the cause of a knee injury. The claimant has an additional medical impairment of 5% to the back. He has not returned to work.

When the claimant complained of hip pain to Dr. Moore, the doctor ordered an MRI and CT scan, which revealed a herniated disc at L-5, S-1 on the left side. That is when the doctor referred the claimant to Dr. Adams. Dr. Adams testified that the back injury could have been caused by one of the falls or by the abnormal gait, both of which were brought on by the knee injury.

Rebecca Williams, a vocational expert, performed a vocational evaluation and estimated the claimant's industrial disability at 87%. A functional capacity examiner, Scott Newton, opined that the claimant was able to perform a majority of the jobs at Saturn. Dr. Ralph Neil Hansen, Saturn's medical director, who reviews "the ergonomics of jobs in relation to people who are injured on the job," opined, based largely on the report of Mr. Newton, that the claimant is able to return to his former job.

The action was commenced in Giles County but transferred by consent to Maury

Page 415

County, where it was tried. In its answer, the employer admitted that "the defendant (sic) gave proper notice of the injury to Saturn Corporation," then amended its answer to aver the failure of such notice. The trial judge found the claimant to have a permanent partial disability of 60% to the body as a whole, as a result of the work-related accident, and awarded disability benefits under the Tennessee Workers' Compensation Act (the Act). Appellate review is de novo, accompanied by a presumption of the...

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398 practice notes
  • In re Conservatorship Turner, No. M2013-01665-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • May 9, 2014
    ...manner and demeanor while testifying is in a far better position than this Court to decide those issues. See McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 910 S.W.2d 412, 415 (Tenn.1995); Whitaker v. Whitaker, 957 S.W.2d 834, 837 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1997). The weight, faith, and credit to be given to any witness' t......
  • Edmunds v. Delta Partners, L.L.C., No. M2012–00047–COA–R3–CV.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • January 9, 2013
    ...than this Court to decide those issues. In re Arteria H., 326 S.W.3d 167, 176 (Tenn.Ct.App.2010) (citing McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 910 S.W.2d 412, 415 (Tenn.1995)). “If the trial court's factual determinations are based on its assessment of witness credibility, this Court will not reevaluate......
  • Edmunds v. Delta Partners, L.L.C., No. M2012-00047-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • December 18, 2012
    ...than this Court to decide those issues. In re Arteria H., 326 S.W.3d 167, 176 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2010) (citing McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 910 S.W.2d 412, 415 (Tenn. 1995)). If the trial court's factual determinations are based on its assessment of witness credibility, this Court will not reevalu......
  • Artistry v. Tanzer, No. W2012–00216–COA–R3–CV.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • December 26, 2012
    ...manner and demeanor while testifying is in a far better position than this Court to decide those issues. See McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 910 S.W.2d 412, 415 (Tenn.1995); Whitaker v. Whitaker, 957 S.W.2d 834, 837 (Tenn.Ct.App.1997). The weight, faith, and credit to be given to any witness' test......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
399 cases
  • In re Conservatorship Turner, No. M2013-01665-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • May 9, 2014
    ...manner and demeanor while testifying is in a far better position than this Court to decide those issues. See McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 910 S.W.2d 412, 415 (Tenn.1995); Whitaker v. Whitaker, 957 S.W.2d 834, 837 (Tenn. Ct. App. 1997). The weight, faith, and credit to be given to any witness' t......
  • Edmunds v. Delta Partners, L.L.C., No. M2012–00047–COA–R3–CV.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • January 9, 2013
    ...than this Court to decide those issues. In re Arteria H., 326 S.W.3d 167, 176 (Tenn.Ct.App.2010) (citing McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 910 S.W.2d 412, 415 (Tenn.1995)). “If the trial court's factual determinations are based on its assessment of witness credibility, this Court will not reevaluate......
  • Edmunds v. Delta Partners, L.L.C., No. M2012-00047-COA-R3-CV
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • December 18, 2012
    ...than this Court to decide those issues. In re Arteria H., 326 S.W.3d 167, 176 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2010) (citing McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 910 S.W.2d 412, 415 (Tenn. 1995)). If the trial court's factual determinations are based on its assessment of witness credibility, this Court will not reevalu......
  • Artistry v. Tanzer, No. W2012–00216–COA–R3–CV.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Tennessee
    • December 26, 2012
    ...manner and demeanor while testifying is in a far better position than this Court to decide those issues. See McCaleb v. Saturn Corp., 910 S.W.2d 412, 415 (Tenn.1995); Whitaker v. Whitaker, 957 S.W.2d 834, 837 (Tenn.Ct.App.1997). The weight, faith, and credit to be given to any witness' test......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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