Session May 22, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Knox County No. 2-10-16 William T.
appeal arises from a motor vehicle accident. Christopher Lea
Williams ("Williams") and John Buraczynski
("Buraczynski") both worked for Progression
Electric, LLC ("Progression"). In January 2015,
Buraczynski was driving his vehicle with passenger Williams
as part of a carpool arrangement when they were involved in
an accident. Williams subsequently claimed he was entitled to
and received workers' compensation benefits. Williams
then sued Buraczynski, personally, in the Circuit Court for
Knox County ("the Trial Court"). Buraczynski filed
a motion for summary judgment, arguing that Williams'
exclusive remedy was in workers' compensation. The Trial
Court granted Buraczynski's motion. Williams appealed. We
affirm the judgment of the Trial Court.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Circuit
Court Affirmed; Case Remanded
S. Queener, III, Nashville, Tennessee, and, Jennifer K.
O'Connell, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Christopher Lea Williams.
M. Horne, Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the appellee, John
Michael Swiney, C.J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Charles D. Susano, Jr. and Thomas R. Frierson, II, JJ.,
MICHAEL SWINEY, CHIEF JUDGE.
case arises from a motor vehicle accident involving two
co-workers. On January 12, 2015, Buraczynski was driving
Williams as part of a carpool arrangement. Both worked for
Progression. The two co-workers were involved in an accident
in which Williams was injured.
sought and obtained workers' compensation benefits from
Progression or its insurance carrier. Neither Progression nor
its insurance carrier denied that Williams was in the course
and scope of his employment with Progression at the time of
the accident. In January 2016, Williams then filed suit
against Buraczynski and Progression alleging that Buraczynski
was negligent in operating the vehicle at the time of the
accident. Progression filed a motion to dismiss for failure
to state a claim asserting that Williams' claim against
it was barred by the exclusive remedy provision of Tenn.
Code. Ann. § 50-6-108(a). Williams thereafter nonsuited
his claim against Progression and the case proceeded against
Buraczynski. In May 2016, Buraczynski filed a motion to amend
his answer to add the defenses of judicial and equitable
estoppel. The motion was granted. According to Buraczynski,
Williams should not be allowed to claim in this action that
he was acting outside the scope of his employment at the time
of the accident when Williams already had applied for and
received workers' compensation benefits. Buraczynski
instead argued that Williams' exclusive remedy is his
March 2016, Buraczynski filed a motion for summary judgment,
which the Trial Court granted following a June 2016 hearing
on the motion. The Trial Court stated as follows in its oral
ruling, which was incorporated into its July 2016 final
The Court having reviewed the record and the motion, as well
as the response and the affidavits that have been filed, it
is of the opinion that the following are the undisputed
The Plaintiff and Defendant, John Buraczynski, were riding
together in Mr. Buraczynski's vehicle on their way to
work. During that ride at some point, the vehicle was
involved in a collision and the Plaintiff was injured.
Later the Plaintiff made representations to his employer that
he was acting in the course and scope of his employment and
that the employer made a determination that the Plaintiff was
in the course and scope of his employment and as a result,
Workers' Comp benefits, Workers' Comp benefits were
paid to the Plaintiff by the employer's Workers'
The Plaintiff has now filed an affidavit in this matter
wherein he makes statements that at the time of the wreck, he
was not on Progression Electric, LLC's premises at the
time of the wreck; that he was not in a vehicle owned by
Progression Electric, LLC; that he was not on the clock for
Progression Electric, LLC; and he was not doing what he was
employed by Progression Electric, LLC to do.
The Court is of the opinion that in making a claim for
Workers' Compensation benefits that the Plaintiff made
admissions that are contrary to his affidavit and that TCA