APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION, DISTRICT
7, PARISH OF JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA. NO. 13-4863,
HONORABLE SYLVIA T. DUNN, JUDGE PRESIDING.
G. ALBE, ATTORNEY AT LAW, New Orleans, Louisiana, COUNSEL FOR
LANGLOIS, III, ATTORNEY AT LAW, Gretna, Louisiana, COUNSEL
composed of Judges Fredericka Homberg Wicker, Jude G.
Gravois, Marc E. Johnson, Robert A. Chaisson, and Hans J.
Liljeberg. JOHNSON, J., DISSENTS IN PART WITH REASONS.
J. LILJEBERG, J.
[14-467 La.App. 5 Cir. 2] Defendant-Employer, Louisiana -I
Gaming, A Louisiana Partnership in Commendam d/b/a Boomtown
Casino (" Boomtown" ), appeals the decision of the
of Workers' Compensation granting medical benefits,
supplemental earning benefits, penalties, and attorney's
fees to claimant, Letress Washington. For the following
reasons, we affirm in part and reverse in part.
13 and 15, 2013, claimant filed two disputed claims for
workers' compensation relative to two slip-and-fall
accidents, asserting that no benefits were being authorized
by defendant-employer, Boomtown. On September 9, 2013, the
matters were consolidated. On October 23, 2013, the parties
entered into a consent judgment, which ordered Boomtown to
authorize and pay for an initial evaluation and report of Dr.
F. Allen Johnston and Dr. William Alden. A trial on the
merits was heard on November 25, 2013, before the Office of
Workers' Compensation. [14-467 La.App. 5 Cir. 3] On
January 24, 2014, the workers' compensation judge
rendered judgment in favor of claimant. Boomtown now appeals.
basic facts of this case are undisputed. Claimant previously
was employed by the Marriott Hotel for 37 years in a
supervisory, janitorial role. At the age of 62, claimant
retired and collected Social Security retirement benefits.
Claimant thereafter became restless with retirement and
sought employment with Boomtown, located on the West Bank of
Jefferson Parish. Boomtown hired claimant on March 23, 2013,
to work in the capacity of a cook. Claimant's essential
functions as a cook required that she " lift, carry, and
push/pull up to 50 pounds so as to be able to move and stock
all necessary supplies."
trial, the parties stipulated that claimant sustained
injuries in two slip-and-fall accidents while employed with
Boomtown. The first incident occurred on May 5, 2013, when
she slipped on a wet, kitchen floor. Claimant testified that
her lower back, neck, and right shoulder were bruised and
sore. Claimant reported the incident to Boomtown and was sent
to West Jefferson Industrial Medical Center for treatment,
where she was diagnosed as having a contusion of the hand and
a lumbar strain. Claimant testified that the doctor took
X-rays and prescribed Ibuprofen for the pain and released her
back to full duty work. Claimant was unsatisfied with the
doctor's treatment and went to see her primary care
physician, Dr. Allen Brown, on May 7, 2013. Dr. Brown
explained to claimant that he did not handle workers'
compensation claims, but ultimately wrote her a slip that she
could not lift over 15 pounds until May 13, 2013. Claimant
testified that she did not give the slip to Boomtown and
returned to her regular duties. She testified that she was
able to complete most of her duties with a little help with
the lifting from [14-467 La.App. 5 Cir. 4] fellow employees;
however, she still complained of soreness in her lower back,
neck, and right hand.
second incident occurred on July 6, 2013. Claimant explained
that she slipped on the wet, dish room in a similar fashion
to the previous accident. Claimant testified that she could
not immediately stand and required assistance, but did not go
to the hospital. Claimant did not immediately seek a doctor
until after consulting with her attorney. Claimant thereafter
saw Dr. Alden upon her attorney's referral on July 10,
2013. Dr. Alden ordered physical therapy, prescribed pain
medication, and returned claimant to light duty work only.
further testified that prior to the second incident, she
decided that she wished to retire and gave her
two-weeks-notice to Boomtown. She explained that she did not
like Boomtown's kitchen and did not like working the
graveyard shift. After the second incident, claimant did not
contact Boomtown regarding the accident, nor did she return