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Judges Can Find Employee Stories of Alleged Work Injuries Unconvincing: Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel Summary, Jaquet McWherter v. Centurion Products, Inc., et al.

Judges Can Find Employee Stories of Alleged Work Injuries Unconvincing: Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel Summary, Jaquet McWherter v. Centurion Products, Inc., et al.

May 19, 2017

By Courtney S. Paterson

Jaquet McWherter v. Centurion Products, Inc., et al.

Docket No. 2016-06-0523

State File No. 25019-2015

Filed May 16, 2017

Posture

This is a case before the Appeals Board on interlocutory appeal filed by the employee, and the dispute was whether the employer should be required to provide the employee compensation benefits.

The employee, Jaquet McWherter, alleged injuries to his right foot on March 25, 2015, when a co-worker ran over his right foot with a “tow motor.” His employer, Centurion Products, Inc., provided a panel of physicians, from which Mr. McWherter selected Concentra Medical Center. The examination revealed evidence of mild swelling but no bruising. Mr. McWherter was advised to take Ibuprofen and return to regular duty. He continued to work for that employer until he was terminated approximately one month later. Two employer representatives submitted affidavits stating, after the alleged injury, the employee had been observed at work on numerous occasions but had not displayed any indication that he was hurt. He was ultimately terminated for a series of safety and policy violations, including smoking in the breakroom, wearing his pants so low he tripped on them and throwing a two-by-four piece of wood near a coworker’s head. At the employee’s request, the trial court conducted an expedited hearing, after which it concluded he was not a credible witness.

The court noted the employee was “hesitant, evasive, defensive and argumentative.” According to the trial court, he interrupted both defense counsel and witnesses and continually mumbled his responses during cross-examination, directing defense counsel to “move on” when he did not want to answer. The court ultimately held that the employee was unlikely to prevail at a hearing on the merits. He appealed. The employer contended that appeal was devoid of merit and frivolous.

The appeals board affirmed the trial court’s decision and concluded the employee’s appeal was frivolous but did not award expenses or attorney’s fees to the employer.

 

 

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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