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Addington: Some Important Reminders

By Judge Brian Addington

Thursday, September 21, 2023 | 0

As a child, and even today, I love to read historical reminders. I used to read them in newspapers or magazines growing up, but now they abound in articles on the web and on social media.

Judge Brian Addington

Judge Brian Addington

On this day in history (Sept. 20):

  • In 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival was held.
  • In 1973, Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes. 
  • In 1997, I was married in the chapel at Emory and Henry College in Emory, Virginia.

To most people, that last point wouldn’t be important, but to me, my wife and family, it is a joyous time. I’m thankful that last week a reminder popped up on my phone about my anniversary. Not that I had forgotten it; I had already given my wife her anniversary gift. But like most people, I can get busy and sometimes forget things.

Which takes me from the tennis court noted above, to the Court of the Workers’ Compensation Claims. We know you’re busy, too. I’d like to give a few little “reminders” from rules and case law, which will help us judges and our staff as we review your files. They’ll also save us space on our computer servers.

First, Rule 0800-02-21-.17(2)(d) states, “Except as required when filing a discovery-related motion, no written discovery requests or answers may be filed with the clerk.” So, unless the judge has specifically asked you to do so, there’s no need to file that deposition notice, those interrogatories and requests for production, or even the answers. I don’t need to see them unless you have a discovery dispute.

Which leads to my second reminder: In 0800-02-21-.17(1), “Parties are encouraged to obtain any necessary discovery informally to avoid undue expense and delay.” Which means, let’s all get along if possible. Cooperation saves time, money and effort.

Third, a reminder about medical records: Pretty early on after the Reform Act took effect, the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board expressed its dissatisfaction with filing excessive and irrelevant medical records in Love v. Delta Faucet Co. Ever since, our court has echoed that message often, in speaking engagements and at practically every scheduling hearing. Yet, we still see cases where parties have included duplicative or irrelevant records, including fax cover sheets, boilerplate discharge instructions, blood work results, appointment reminders, etc.

Even if these were part of a certified set of records, yank them! Make the effort to agree with the other side which documents can be culled well before a trial. If you don’t, you might be asked when you arrive for trial to pare the records.

There you go; you’ve been reminded. Thanks in advance for heeding them in the future.

Brian Addington is a judge in the Tennessee Court of Workers' Compensation Claims, Gray. This entry is republished with permission from the court's blog.


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