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Comp board reverses, remands case of workplace shooting


The Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board determined Wednesday that a court prematurely ruled for an employer in a case involving an auto repair shop manager who was accidentally shot by a co-worker during a workplace discussion over a possible private gun sale.  

The manager filed for workers compensation benefits after he was injured in July 2021 when he discussed with co-workers the potential gun sale. He sought compensation for physical injuries but also alleged a mental injury.

The employer, Steve Towers Enterprises LLC, challenged the comp petition, arguing the injury didn’t arise out of the employment since a transaction involving a personal weapon was not a risk inherent to employment at an auto repair shop.

A judge determined summary judgment for the employer was warranted because the incident was not connected to work.

The comp appeal board determined that summary judgment for the employer was not appropriate at this stage of the litigation because a dispute lingered over facts in the case.

The board ruled that the employee met his burden of demonstrating “genuine issues of material fact impacting the question of whether this injury arose primarily out of his employment.”

The board remanded the case for further proceedings.