Gregory E. Pope v. Nebco of Cleveland, Inc., et al.Annotate this Case
Authoring Judge: Judge Thomas R. Frierson, II
Trial Court Judge: Judge Thomas L. Wyatt
The Plaintiff, Gregory E. Pope, filed this action for workers compensation benefits in the Court of Workers Compensation Claims ( trial court ) against his former employer, Nebco of Cleveland, Inc., d/b/a Toyota of Cleveland ( Toyota or the dealership ). In 2014, Mr. Pope suffered a severe knee injury while competing in a mud run charity event sponsored by his employer and other local businesses. During trial, Toyota argued that Mr. Pope s injury was not compensable because it arose from his voluntary participation in a non-work-related activity. The trial court determined that Mr. Pope s injury was compensable and awarded him medical benefits. On post-trial motion, the trial court also increased the amount of Mr. Pope s awarded attorney s fees. Toyota appealed to the Workers Compensation Appeals Board ( Appeals Board ), which reversed on the issue of compensability as well as the accompanying award of attorney s fees. Mr. Pope subsequently appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which referred this case to the Special Workers Compensation Appeals Panel pursuant to Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 51. In this appeal, Mr. Pope challenges the Appeals Board s determination on the issue of compensability and raises two constitutional challenges to the statutes establishing the Appeals Board. We determine that Mr. Pope s constitutional challenges to the statutes establishing the Appeals Board are without merit. Following our thorough review of the record, we also affirm the Appeals Board s reversal and dismissal of the case on the grounds that Mr. Pope s injury is not compensable.