The Louisiana Supreme Court is the highest court in the state of Louisiana.  Louisiana also has five intermediary courts of appeal called Circuit Courts, each covering a different group of Parishes.  The justices of the Supreme Court as well as the Circuit Courts are all elected officials who serve ten-year terms.

The Circuit Courts have appellate jurisdiction over all  civil matters, all family and juvenile court matters, and most criminal cases.  The Circuit Courts also have supervisory jurisdiction to review interlocutory orders and decrees matters before the district courts within their geographical circuits. The Louisiana Circuit Courts are able to review questions of fact and law in civil cases, but only questions of law in criminal cases.

Appeals from the Circuit Courts are brought to the Louisiana Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court also has exclusive appellate jurisdiction over certain matters, and has original jurisdiction over other narrow matters.

The following is a list of contact info and links for each of Louisiana’s courts of appeal:

Louisiana Appeal Courts

The Federal judiciary in Louisiana is divided into three districts, the Eastern, Middle, and Western. Also, New Orleans is home to the United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit, which has appellate jurisdiction over Federal matters in Louisiana, Texas, and Mississippi.  Federal judges are appointed by the executive branch and serve for life.  Bankruptcy judges are appointed by the Court of Appeals and serve 14-year terms.

The following is a list of contact info and links to each Federal district court, bankruptcy court, and court of appeal in Louisiana:

Louisiana federal courts

When a workers compensation claim is denied in Louisiana, the injured worker has the option to appeal the claim to Louisiana Workforce Commission’s  Office of Workers Compensation Administration (OWCA) where it is heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ).  The OWCA is divided into nine divisions, each of which covers a certain region of the state.  Appeals from decisions of the OWCA are filed in the Circuit Court of Appeal that has jurisdiction over the particular workers compensation district.

The administrative office of the OWCA can be reached at:

P.O. Box 94040
Baton Rouge, LA 70804

Telephone: 225-342-7970, 800-201-2499
Facsimile: 225-342-4790

The following is a list and contact info for each of Louisiana’s OWCA District Offices:

owca district offices

There are several types of Federal workers compensation, but two of the most common fall under the Longshore Act and the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA).  Both types fall under the purview of the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) within the Department of Labor (DOL).  The OWCP’s national office can be reached at:

Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs
200 Constitution Avenue NW, Suite S-3524
Washington, DC 20210

Facsimile: 877-889-5627

Benefits under the Longshore Act and its extensions, the Defense Base Act (DBA) and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) are administered by the Division of Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation (DLHWC), whose national office can be reached at 202-693-0038Benefits for Federal employees under FECA are administered by the Division of Federal Employees’ Compensation (DFEC) , whose national office can be reached at 202-693-0040.

The following is a list and contact info for each of the OWCP districts, hearing offices, and appeal boards with jurisdiction over Louisiana cases:

OWCP

Appeals from unfavorable decisions are brought to the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) where the case will be heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ).  Louisiana has four OHO locations , each of which services a number of Social Security Administration (SSA) Field Offices, and some of which also service satellite hearing offices.  The national SSA office can be reached at:

Telephone: 800-772-1213
Facsimile: 800-325-0778

Louisiana’s OHO and SSA offices fall under the purview of the Dallas Regional Office, which can be reached at:

1301 Young Street, Suite 460
Dallas, TX 75202

Telephone: 214-767-9401
Facsimile: 214-767-9407

Appeals from an ALJ decision are brought to the Appeals Council (AC), and then beyond that to Federal district court.

The following is a list and contact info for each of the SSA hearing and field offices in Louisiana:

SSA hearing offices

Defendant, a medical facility, initially filed three disputed claims against Employer with the Office of Workers’ Compensation (OWC) because they had not been paid for medical services rendered.  Employer argued they had not received notice of any treatment before the claims were filed.  The medical facility voluntarily dismissed its claims with prejudice prior to the hearing.  Employer then filed a lawsuit in state district court against the medical facility alleging that Defendant’s prior claims were frivolous, and seeking sanctions and attorney fees.  Defendant filed an exception of lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing that Employer’s suit should have been filed in the OWC because Employer’s claim arose out of workers’ compensation disputes.  The district court found it had jurisdiction and denied the exception.

Continue reading “OWC Does Not Have Jurisdiction Over All Disputes”

Plaintiff’s drilling barge caught fire causing extensive damage. Repairs were made at a cost of $11 million. Under La. R.S. 47:305.1(A), taxes imposed shall not apply to sales of materials, machinery, and equipment which become component parts of a vessel of fifty tons and over, if the vessel is built in Louisiana. Further, a tax exemption applies to construction or reconstruction, but not to the replacement of worn components. Louisiana law also provides that the exemption applies if the reconstruction restores the vessel to seaworthiness following its destruction by sinking, collision, or fire. Plaintiff relied on this tax exemption and did not pay any sales or use taxes on the materials purchased to repair the barge. Nevertheless, the local tax collector assessed taxes on the repair equipment.

Continue reading “Materials Used to Reconstruct a Vessel Destroyed by Fire are Tax Exempt”

Plaintiff filed suit against a hospital when he developed an infection following spine surgery. Defendant filed an exception of prematurity, arguing that it was a qualified healthcare provider under the Medical Malpractice Act (MMA) and that Plaintiff’s claims had not yet been presented to a medical review panel. The district court granted the exception as to all of Plaintiff’s allegations with the exception of the allegation that Defendant failed to properly maintain and service all equipment utilized in the sterilization process.

Continue reading “Failure to Maintain Sterilization Equipment Falls Under Purview of MMA”

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”