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Guess v. Sharp Manufacturing America

Supreme Court of Tennessee
114 S.W.3d 480 (Tenn. 2003)


Facts

Mary Guess (plaintiff) was an assembly-line worker for Sharp Manufacturing Company of America (Sharp) (defendant). On November 6, 1998, one of Guess’s coworkers cut his hand while working. Some of the coworker’s blood got onto Guess’s hand. At the time, Guess had open cuts on her hands. Guess had already suspected that the coworker had the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) because he was frequently sick, looked frail, had friends who had died of AIDS, and was on the mailing list of a gay-rights organization. Consequently, Guess became hysterical from coming into contact with the coworker’s blood and soon after suffered from panic attacks. Guess was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) caused by the incident and was deemed vocationally impaired. Guess filed a workers’ compensation claim under the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Law (Law). The Chancery Court for Shelby County awarded workers’ compensation benefits to Guess. Sharp appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Barker, J.)

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