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Thibodeaux v. Carroll's Towing

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

November 5, 2014

EARL J. THIBODEAUX
v.
CARROLL'S TOWING, ET AL

Page 552

APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION - # 4. PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. 12-02212. ADAM C. JOHNSON, WORKERS COMPENSATION JUDGE.

Eric J. Waltner, Allen & Gooch, a Law Corporation, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: D.C. Rent to Own d/b/a Everbody Rides.

Melanie J. Forbes, Attorney at Law, Baton Rouge, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Carroll's Towing.

C. Roan Evans, The Glenn Armentor Law Corporation, Lafayette, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Earl J. Thibodeaux.

Court composed of Jimmie C. Peters, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.

OPINION

Page 553

[14-555 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] PICKETT, Judge.

A workers' compensation claimant appeals the dismissal of his claims for indemnity and medical benefits and penalties and attorney fees. We affirm.

FACTS

In March 2012, Earl J. Thibodeaux was employed by Carroll's Towing as a tow truck operator. He filed a Form 1008 Disputed Claim for Compensation, seeking indemnity and medical benefits from Carroll's Towing for an injury to his right knee. He alleged that the injury occurred on March 21, 2012, when he was hooking a car to his tow truck. Mr. Thibodeaux amended his claim to add D.C. RENT TO OWN/D.C. RENT TO OWN LLC D/B/A EVERYBODY RIDES as a defendant after that entity filed an answer to his claim as the payor for Carroll's Towing.

Trial was held October 21, 2013. Mr. Thibodeaux and two employees of Carroll's Towing, Michelle Patin and Sandra Domingue, testified at trial. Mr. Thibodeaux submitted the deposition of Stephanie Lea and medical records of Lafayette General Medical Center (LGMC), Dr. Andre Viator/SWLA Center for Health Services (SWLA), and Dr. Michel Heard in support of his claim.

Mr. Thibodeaux testified that on the evening of March 21, 2012, he had to drive to from Lafayette to Alexandria and tow a Chevrolet Impala back to Lafayette. He described injuring his right knee as follows: " Whenever I went down to hook the chains on the driver's side, I felt something stab me in the knee. I checked, there was nothing on the ground." Mr. Thibodeaux explained that at the time, he did not believe the knee pain was anything serious, so he went home and slept. He further testified that when he awoke the next morning, his knee was [14-555 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] swollen the size of a basketball and that he knew he needed to report the incident to Ms. Patin, his supervisor at Carroll's Towing. According to Mr. Thibodeaux, he texted Ms. Patin that morning, and she called him after she got to the office. Mr. Thibodeaux then testified that he explained to Ms. Patin how he injured his right knee the night before and that she told him it did not matter if he needed to go to the hospital.

Mr. Thibodeaux testified that he then went to the office where he showed his right knee to Ms. Patin and Ms. Domingue and explained to them exactly how he injured it the night before when preparing to hook the Chevrolet Impala to his truck. Mr. Thibodeaux stated that he was transported to LGMC by Stephanie Lea, another tow truck driver he was training.

Mr. Thibodeaux's history of injury was recorded on March 22, 2012, by LGMC emergency room personnel as: " c/o right knee pain that started last night, denies injury or trauma. Swelling noted to right knee, pt ambulates with a limp." Four days later on March 26, 2012, SWLA recorded Mr. Thibodeaux's ...


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