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Lee v. Future Expectations Community Care Services, LLC

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit

November 19, 2014

DELORES W. LEE, Plaintiff-Appellee
v.
FUTURE EXPECTATIONS COMMUNITY CARE SERVICES, LLC, Defendant-Appellant

Appealed from the Eighth Judicial District Court for the Parish of Winn, Louisiana. Trial Court No. 43406. Honorable Jacque D. Derr, Judge.

KELVIN G. SANDERS, Counsel for Appellant.

BOBBY L. CULPEPPER, Counsel for Appellee.

Before CARAWAY, MOORE and LOLLEY, JJ.

OPINION

Page 1036

[49,478 La.App. 2 Cir. 1] LOLLEY, J.

The defendant in this matter, Future Expectations Community Care Services, L.L.C., appeals a judgment from the

Page 1037

Eighth Judicial District Court, Parish of Winn, State of Louisiana, in favor of Delores Lee. For the following reasons, we affirm the trial court's judgment and award an additional attorney fee on appeal.

Facts

Delores Lee was an employee of Future Expectations Community Care Services, L.L.C. (" Future Expectations" ), and in that capacity provided in-home medical care to its patients. On January 3, 2012, while in the home of a patient, Lee lifted the patient and injured her back at about 10:45 a.m. She was not wearing a back brace.

According to Future Expectations, Lee did not report the injury, despite a company policy that injuries be reported within 20 minutes of occurrence. Lee claims that when she was injured, she felt a " little twinge" in her back, but did not believe it was significant. Not knowing the extent of her injury, Lee went to another client's home later that afternoon. That evening at approximately 7:30 p.m., when her pain had greatly increased, Lee eventually reported her injury to her supervisor, Leonard Collins. He purportedly reminded Lee of the company policy of reporting injuries and asked her to contact the administrator, Beverly Raymo. Future Expectations claims Lee refused to report the injury, and Collins ended up reporting the injury to Raymo.

On the following day, Raymo instructed Collins to contact Lee and [49,478 La.App. 2 Cir. 2] inform her she was terminated for violating the company's accident/injury reporting policy. Lee claims she was not told why she was terminated--she assumed it was because she was injured on the job.

Ultimately, Lee filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits, and that matter was settled. This lawsuit for retaliatory discharge ensued. After a trial of the matter, the trial court entered judgment in Lee's favor, finding that a retaliatory discharge had been made. Lee was awarded one year's wages (i.e., $20,280.00) together with ...


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