The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board on Monday reversed a trial judge’s ruling excluding the testimony of an expert witness Coca-Cola Bottling Co. retained in a workers comp claim by an injured employee.
The board found that the trial court erred in concluding that the company failed to comply with a deadline for disclosing expert witnesses in a case brought by employee Ariel Taylor, who sustained a workplace back injury in 2019.
The board said the trial judge’s scheduling order for the disclosure didn’t contain any deadline for the exchange of expert witness reports.
Mr. Taylor had settled his initial claim for comp benefits following his workplace injury, but he later filed a petition for additional disability benefits.
The board ruled that Mr. Taylor had been made aware of the identity of his employer’s vocational expert before a specified deadline, despite the trial court ruling that the company failed to provide the employee with the expert’s report until after the court-imposed deadline.
The board, finding that the trial court abused its discretion in excluding Coca-Cola’s expert, reversed the judge’s order and remanded the case for further proceedings.