Decedent was a retired firefighter with the Jefferson Parish Fire Department.  He passed away on May 5, 2013.  On January 7, 2015, his widow filed a disputed claim for compensation seeking death benefits pursuant to La. R.S. 23:1231.  Plaintiff alleged that her husband filed a workers’ compensation claim in 2004 for which he received benefits until the time of his death.  She further alleged that he suffered a heart attack on the date of his death, and the coroner amended the death certificate in October 2014 to reflect that the cause of death was the heart attack.

Continue reading “Court Addresses Time to File Claim for Death Benefits in Occupational Disease Case”

Plaintiff brought suit against her former employer under Louisiana’s Whistleblower Statute, alleging that she was wrongfully terminated for reporting unsafe work equipment to management and corporate headquarters. Defendant filed an exception of no cause of action, arguing that plaintiff was terminated for failing to follow the proper procedure of reporting the unsafe condition, and that plaintiff did not engage in protected activity under the Whistleblower Statute. Plaintiff argued that her termination was actually in retribution of reporting defendant’s violation of state law, which requires employers to provide reasonably safe employment for all employees. The trial court granted the exception, and plaintiff appealed.

Continue reading “Employee’s Internal Complaint of Faulty Equipment Did Not Give Rise to Whistleblower Protection”

Claimant allegedly injured his lower back while working as a laborer for the company he owned.  Claimant filed a claim with his workers’ compensation carrier, and while some medical benefits were paid, Carrier denied authorization of lumbar epidural injections and paid no wage benefits.  Claimant contacted Carrier to inquire about the denial of these benefits, and the adjuster took a recorded statement from Claimant.  Claimant admitted to having a minor prior back injury and denied ever being involved in any motor vehicle accidents.  Carrier thereafter approved the medical treatment and began paying temporary total disability benefits.

Continue reading “Willful False Statements Lead to Restitution”

Plaintiff was injured on a city bus on May 1, 2013. He attempted to file suit on the one-year anniversary by facsimile filing on May 1, 2014. Multiple attempts were made, but Plaintiff received an error code each time due to a busy signal. The Clerk of Court received the fax the following morning, and stamp filed the petition on May 2, 2014. Defendants filed an exception of prescription pointing out that the petition was filed more than one year after the alleged injury. Plaintiff opposed the exception, arguing that he first attempted to fax file the petition before the end of the business day on May 1, 2014 and that he continued to attempt to fax it until midnight. Plaintiff produced the communication reports and an affidavit in support of his position. The trial court denied the exception finding that because the Clerk of Court turned off the fax machine at the close of business, the Clerk’s action operated to shorten the prescriptive period, which was beyond Plaintiff’s control.

Continue reading “An Attempt at Fax Filing a Petition is Sufficient to Interrupt Prescription”

Debtor and her husband entered into a promissory note secured by a mortgage in the purchase of their home. In June 2004, they defaulted on the loan. Two months later, Debtor’s husband passed away. In November 2004, Creditor filed an executory proceeding to perfect the seizure and sale of the property. After filing the suit, Creditor’s Counsel received the original promissory note which was marked with an unsigned stamp indicating the note was paid and cancelled. He also received correspondence from Debtor’s counsel stating that the foreclosure was improperly supported, yet Creditor continued to move forward with the seizure. In December 2004, the sheriff’s office delivered a notice of seizure, and Debtor moved out of the dwelling. Debtor successfully sought injunctive relief, arguing that the promissory note and mortgage were not in authentic form as they were executed in front of only one witness. Creditor then filed an ordinary proceeding seeking enforcement of the note and mortgage.

Continue reading “Debtor not Entitled to § 1983 Relief Against Creditor’s Counsel Where There was no Specific Intent to Harm”

Plaintiffs’ father was killed in an unwitnessed work accident when he was caught in a pinch point while operating a lift truck. An investigation revealed that the decedent had traces of marijuana in his blood and urine. Plaintiffs filed a disputed worker’s compensation claim for death benefits. Defendant answered the suit and filed a motion for summary judgment raising the intoxication defense provided in La. R.S. 23:1081, which establishes employers’ various defenses to worker’s compensation claims. Defendant argued that the death benefits were forfeited due to the intoxication, which triggered the statutory presumption that the intoxication caused the accident. Plaintiffs opposed the motion arguing that the deposition testimony of multiple coworkers showed that the decedent appeared to be normal prior to the accident. The worker’s compensation judge granted the motion and dismissed Plaintiffs’ claim. Plaintiffs appealed.

Continue reading “Intoxication Defense Defeated with Coworkers’ Testimony”

Claimant slipped and fell at work injuring her back and hip on November 26, 2011.  Employer accepted the claim and paid indemnity benefits from May 15, 2013 through October 16, 2013.  Claimant thereafter filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation seeking indemnity benefits, medical treatment, penalties, and attorney fees.  At trial, it was found that Claimant’s initial physician found no basis to restrict her work activity.  Further, Claimant testified that she was able to work for 18 months following the accident by using medication.  It wasn’t until Claimant began seeing another physician that she was restricted from work.  The worker’s compensation judge found that Claimant failed to present any evidence of a significant change in her circumstances from when she saw the first doctor until she was restricted from work.  In regard to medical treatment, the Medical Director determined that lumbar epidural steroid injections (LESI) were not medically necessary.  However, the judge found that the Medical Treatment Guidelines reflect that the injections proposed by Claimant’s second physician were accepted and well-established procedures for treating chronic pain disorders.  The judge ruled that Claimant was entitled to LESI therapy, but was not entitled to indemnity benefits, penalties, or attorney fees.  Both parties appealed.

Continue reading “Continued Work by Claimant May Limit Indemnity Recovery”

Claimant was awarded permanent partial disability benefits. Claimant later applied for and was awarded Social Security disability benefits. Employer sought an order to offset the workers’ compensation benefits paid by Employer in the amount of $115.52 per week, pursuant to La. R.S. 23:1225(A). Claimant did not dispute Employer’s entitlement to an offset.  However, she contended that Employer should deduct the court approved attorney fees of $65.81 per week. The workers’ compensation judge agreed with Claimant and ordered an offset of $49.71 per week. Employer appealed.

Continue reading “Workers Comp Attorney Fees Should Not be Deducted When Calculating SSDI Offset”

In a civil suit brought by a former UCLA basketball player, it was alleged that the NCAA profited from the use of Plaintiff’s name and likeness in television broadcasts and video games. Plaintiff contended that because the NCAA enjoys contracts worth billions of dollars, athletes are entitled to a portion of the profits. The NCAA countered that college athletes are by definition amateurs, and further argued the commonly held belief that paying college athletes would transform collegiate athletics into something unrecognizable and render the athletes professionals. In 2014, the District Court for the Northern District of California found that the NCAA was not above the antitrust laws and its rules were too restrictive in maintaining amateurism. The district court proposed that the NCAA allow colleges to pay athletes up to $5,000.00 per year in “deferred compensation.” The NCAA appealed the decision.

Continue reading ““Cost of Attendance” is Sufficient Compensation for College Athletes”

Claimant worked for Employer for twenty years when he became aware that his exposure to workplace noise had caused hearing loss. He brought a claim under the Longshore Act. He argued that although he worked as a trackman operating switching engines, he sometimes worked on a track near a shipping channel and was a member of the longshoreman’s union, thus, he was a longshoreman under the Act. Employer controverted the claim on the grounds that Claimant never worked on, over, or adjacent to navigable waters. Employer further argued that switching cars was not integral or necessary to the loading or unloading of a vessel.

Continue reading “Rail Yard Worker Fails LHWCA Situs and Status Tests”