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Wilfred v. A. Serv. Cab Co., Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

May 27, 2015

EMELIA WILFRED
v.
A. SERVICE CAB CO., INC

Page 1008

APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION. NO. 2013-08959, DISTRICT " EIGHT" . Honorable Robert Varnado, Workers' Compensation Judge.

R. Ray Orrill, Jr., Robert E. Jones, IV, Orrill & Beary, L.L.C., New Orleans, LA, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT.

Matthew R. Richards, JOHNSON STILTNER & RAHMAN, Baton Rouge, LA, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE.

(Court composed of Chief Judge James F. McKay, III, Judge Edwin A. Lombard, Judge Roland L. Belsome).

OPINION

Page 1009

[2014-1121 La.App. 4 Cir. 1] Roland L. Belsome, J.

The plaintiff, Emelia Wilfred, appeals the trial court's judgment denying her claim for worker's compensation death benefits. For the following reasons, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The plaintiff instituted a suit against the defendant, A Service Cab Co. Inc. (" A Service" ), to recover worker's compensation benefits for the death of her father, Joseph Wilfred, who was robbed and murdered while driving a cab on December 16, 2012. After trial and the filing of post-trial memoranda, the court rendered a judgment denying the plaintiff's claim for death benefits, and the case was dismissed with prejudice. This appeal followed.

DISCUSSION

The plaintiff raises three principal assignments of error: 1) the trial court erred when it found that the decedent was not an employee of A Service; 2) the trial court erred in finding that the decedent was an independent contractor, rather than an employee, as independent contractors are not covered under the Worker's [2014-1121 La.App. 4 Cir. 2] Compensation Act; [1] and 3) alternatively,

Page 1010

she argues that the trial court erred in not finding that the decedent fell under the manual labor exception for independent contractors, since independent contractors who perform a substantial amount of manual labor are not excluded from the Act. The plaintiff, however, has incorrectly interpreted the trial court's judgment regarding the second assignment of error. In its judgment, the trial court found that the decedent was not an employee, an independent contractor, or primarily engaged in manual labor for A Service at the time of his death; therefore, it denied and dismissed the plaintiff's claim.[2] Since the plaintiff's second and third assignments of error, regarding independent contractors, are based on an incorrect interpretation that the trial court found the decedent to be an ...


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