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Walker v. Summit

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

November 5, 2014

KATHLEEN WALKER
v.
THE SUMMIT

Editorial Note:

This Decision is not final until expiration of the fourteen day rehearing period.

WRIT APPLICATION FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS COMPENSATION, DISTRICT 02, PARISH OF RAPIDES, DOCKET NO. 14-1644. HONORABLE JAMES J. BRADDOCK, PRESIDING.

W. Jay Luneau, Alexandria, LA, ATTORNEY FOR PLAINTIFF/APPLICANT, Kathleen Walker.

Lawrence B. Frieman, Bradley P. Naccari, Juge, Napolitano, Guilbeau, Ruli & Frieman, Covington, LA, ATTORNEY FOR DEFENDANT/RESPONDENT, The Summit.

Court composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Sylvia R. Cooks, and Jimmie C. Peters, Judges.

OPINION

[14-676 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] COOKS, Judge.

This case involves a workers' compensation claim which, Claimant, Kathleen Walker, filed against Defendant, The Summit, as a result of a work-related accident that occurred on July 31, 2009. Employment Risk Management Services (ERMS) was contracted by Defendant to administer the claim. Pertinent to this writ application, Defendant scheduled an appointment for Claimant to be examined by Dr. Donald Smith, a neurosurgeon, for the purpose of obtaining a second medical opinion (SMO).

Claimant's counsel requested a copy of any and all paperwork that Claimant would be asked to fill out for the SMO. After receipt of the paperwork, Claimant's counsel sent a letter detailing his objections to certain forms, in particular, a form

Page 963

titled " Medical Evaluation Consent Form." Specifically, Claimant's counsel explained in his letter that his client would not sign the " Medical Evaluation Consent Form" because she was not consenting to the examination, but was going to the appointment because she was legally obligated to do so. Claimant' counsel also stated in his letter, " If you know of some precedent that requires her to sign the form, please let me know and I will consider same." Defendant simply responded that Claimant would have to sign the form prior to the SMO.

After additional letters were sent by Claimant's counsel reiterating his refusal to have his client sign the form, Defendant sent a letter demanding Claimant attend the SMO appointment. That letter from Defendant stated, " You can instruct your client to sign or not sign any document you want. However, she still must appear for the examination on Monday as scheduled." Claimant drove to Dr. Smith's office on the appointed date. She was told by Dr. Smith's staff she had to sign the " Medical Evaluation Consent Form." After speaking with her attorney by telephone, Claimant refused to sign the form. Thereafter, Dr. Smith refused to examine Claimant.

[14-676 La.App. 3 Cir. 3] Defendant subsequently filed a Motion to Compel in the Office of Workers' Compensation, seeking to have Claimant ordered to sign the " Medical Evaluation Consent Form." Following a hearing, the workers' compensation judge (WCJ) granted Defendant's Motion to Compel. Claimant immediately sought review of the ruling, filing a writ application with this court. This ...


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