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Owens v. State

Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit

February 25, 2015

JAMES MICHAEL OWENS
v.
STATE OF LOUISIANA D/B/A LOUISIANA COMMUNITY AND TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM

APPEAL FROM THE NINTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT. PARISH OF RAPIDES, NO. 245,119. HONORABLE THOMAS MARTIN YEAGER, DISTRICT JUDGE.

REVERSED AND REMANDED.

Angelo Joseph Piazza, III, Attorney at Law, Marksville, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: James Michael Owens.

Leanne Bridges, Attorney at Law, Alexandria, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: State of Louisiana.

Court composed of John D. Saunders, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and John E. Conery, Judges. Pickett, J., concurs.

OPINION

Page 1226

[14-725 La.App. 3 Cir. 1] SAUNDERS, Judge.

This is an appeal regarding whether an employee's tort suit against his employer was properly dismissed via an exception of no right of action. The employee contends that he very clearly alleged that the employer was intentionally tortious, and, thus, he had a remedy against that employer in tort. The employer contends that the employee's remedy is exclusively in workers' compensation.

We find that the trial court erroneously granted the employer's exception of no right of action. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court's judgment and remand the matter for further proceedings.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

James Michael Owens was employed by the State of Louisiana (the State) as a welding instructor at the Alexandria campus of the Louisiana Community and Technical College from 1991 through April 2012. Owens filed a tort suit against the State on July 23, 2012. In his petition, Owens alleges that he was working in a building with inadequate ventilation which resulted in his exposure to high levels of particulate matter and chromium from 2008 through April of 2012. Owens further alleged that the administration was made aware of this exposure in 2008, but never repaired the ventilation system. Finally, Owens alleges that he suffered injuries as a result of the continuous exposure.

On October 4, 2012, the State filed an exception of no right of action. The matter was heard on January 13, 2014. On February 18, 2014, the trial court issued written reasons. Despite the transcript of the hearing indicating that the trial court was persuaded by Owens' argument that he had a right of action, on March 31, 2014, the trial court issued a judgment sustaining the State's exception of no right of action, finding that Owens' exclusive remedy is workers' compensation, and dismissing Owens' suit with prejudice.

[14-725 La.App. 3 Cir. 2] Owens filed the appeal now before us. In it, he alleges ...


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