Court Rejects Employee’s Toxic Metal and Chemical Exposure Claims; Tennessee Supreme Court Affirms
An employee had worked as a certified chemical operator for our client Erachem Comilog, Inc. for ten years and he had worked in the manganese dioxide industry for more than 33 years. He sought workers’ compensation benefits in Tennessee, alleging that as a result of exposure to heavy metals at work he sustained a serious neurological condition that exhibited Parkinson’s-like symptoms. He also claimed to suffer from COPD and a dermatologic condition. At trial, the plaintiff presented medical evidence in the form of expert testimony from three physicians from Vanderbilt University, including the doctor who had been treating him. We countered with testimony from neurologic and pulmonary experts with experience addressing concerns related to the actual substances alleged to have caused the plaintiff’s conditions. In spite of the testimony in support of the plaintiff’s claims and the considerable emotional appeal of his case, we obtained a complete victory for our client. The trial court found that the plaintiff failed to establish that his medical conditions were the result of exposure to metals or chemicals in the workplace. The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Special Workers’ Compensation Appeals Panel affirmed that ruling.