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Darby-Cooley v. Blazin Concepts-Covington, LLC

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, First Circuit

November 7, 2014

JEANNIE M. DARBY-COOLEY
v.
BLAZIN CONCEPTS-COVINGTON, LLC D/B/A BUFFALO WILD WINGS

On Appeal from the Office of Workers' Compensation District 6 In and for the Parish of St. Tammany State of Louisiana. No. 13-03134. Honorable Gwendolyn F. Thompson, WC Judge Presiding.

Joseph G. Albe, New Orleans, Louisiana, Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant, Jeannie M. Darby-Cooley.

Paul Michael Elvir, Jr., Metairie, Louisiana, Counsel for Defendants/Appellees, Blazin Concepts-Covington, LLC d/b/a/ Buffalo Wild Wings.

BEFORE: WHIPPLE, C.J., McCLENDON, AND HIGGINBOTHAM, JJ.

OPINION

Page 723

[2014-0617 La.App. 1 Cir 1] McCLENDON, J.

This workers' compensation case is before us on appeal from a judgment in favor of the employer and against the claimant. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

Jeannie M. Darby-Cooley (claimant) was employed as an assistant manager by Blazin Concepts-Covington, LLC d/b/a Buffalo Wild Wings. On November 26, 2012, claimant was involved in a work-related accident when she tripped and fell on a broom left lying on the floor by a co-worker. That same day, claimant was seen and treated in the emergency room at Lakeview Regional Medical Center, where she complained of pain in her neck, right arm and shoulder, and lower back. Claimant was next treated by her primary doctor, Dr. Michael Braxton, on November 28, 2012. Dr. Braxton's impression was that claimant suffered a cervical strain with a right shoulder contusion, and he took claimant off of work for one week. On December 5, 2012, claimant followed up with Dr. Braxton, at which time he allowed claimant to return to work at light duty with no lifting. Claimant returned to work for approximately four and one-half months. On April 8, 2013, claimant was

Page 724

terminated because of an altercation she had with a patron.

Thereafter, on May 6, 2013, claimant filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation with the Office of Workers' Compensation (OWC). The issues presented for trial were whether claimant was entitled to: (1) supplemental earnings benefits (SEB) from April 9, 2013, forward; (2) temporary total disability (TTD) benefits for the one week beginning from the date of the accident on November 26, 2012, through December 5, 2012; (3) the payment of three unpaid medical bills; and (4) an award of penalties and attorney fees from defendant.

Following a trial on the merits, the owe rendered judgment, finding that claimant was not entitled to TTDs and that she did not carry her burden of proof that she was entitled to SEBs from April 9, 2013, through the date of trial on December 9, 2013. Additionally, the owe found that claimant did not carry her [2014-0617 La.App. 1 Cir 2] burden of proof that the three medical bills at issue were reasonable and necessary medical treatment related to the accident at issue. Claimant's request for penalties and attorney fees was also denied.

Claimant appealed, asserting that the owe erred in failing to find that she was entitled to SEBs, in failing to order defendant to pay for the medical bills at issue, and in failing to grant her penalties and attorney fees.

A workers' compensation claimant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that an employment accident occurred and that it had a causal relationship to the resulting disability. Cutno v. Gainey's Concrete Products, 06-1582 (La.App. 1 Cir. 5/4/07), 961 So.2d 486, 489-490. While the workers' compensation laws are to be construed liberally in favor of the claimant, that interpretation cannot lessen the ...


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