State’s first eight workers’ comp judges named

News release from Department of Labor and Workforce Development:
NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Labor’s Division of Workers’ Compensation is announcing the appointment of their first eight workers’ compensation judges.
The Tennessee Legislature passed comprehensive Workers’ Compensation reform legislation last year. The reform created a new, administrative Workers’ Compensation Court within the Workers’ Compensation Division. The new judges will begin work prior to July 1, 2014, when the new law goes into effect.

“Workers’ Comp reform will result in a system that is fair to both employees and employers and will speed up the settlement of injury claims,” said Labor Commissioner Burns Phillips. “This should result in more predictable outcomes.”

The appointees are as follows:

Brian Addington, Kingsport, Attorney with the Division of Workers’ Compensation
Joshua Baker, Nashville, Administrative Attorney and Legislative Liaison with the Division of Workers’ Compensation
Lisa Knott, Knoxville, Attorney with the Division of Workers’ Compensation
Pamela Johnson, Knoxville, Of Counsel with the Leitner, Williams, Dooley and Napolitan law firm in Knoxville.
Allen Phillips, Jackson, partner with Waldrup & Hall in Jackson.
Jim Umsted, Memphis, Attorney with the Division of Workers’ Compensation
Thomas Wyatt, Chattanooga, partner with Summers & Wyatt
Ken Switzer will be the Chief Judge. He is an associate with the Howard Tate law firm.

The appointments were made by the Workers’ Compensation Division Administrator, Abbie Hudgens, and were selected from recommendations from the Workers’ Compensation Interview Committee, which was composed of representatives of employees, employers, and the legal community from all three grand divisions of the state.