FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION - # 3 PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 15-06182 CHARLOTTE A. L. BUSHNELL,
WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE.
E. Escher Sheryl Story, COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS: A.
W. Chesterton National Fire Ins. Co. of Hartford.
Louis Camel Cox, Cox, Filo, Camel & Wilson, LLC, COUNSEL
FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Charlie Johnson.
composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, Billy Howard Ezell, and
John E. Conery, Judges.
HOWARD EZELL JUDGE.
Chesterton and its workers' compensation insurance
carrier, CNA, appeal the decision of the workers'
compensation judge below finding that Charlie Johnson did not
commit fraud under La.R.S. 23:1208. For the following
reasons, we hereby affirm the decision of the workers'
December 13, 2012, Mr. Johnson suffered a work-related
accident while picking up a box of parts. Neither his injury
nor benefits were disputed at trial. Rather, the sole issue
before the workers' compensation judge was whether or not
Mr. Johnson committed fraud under La.R.S. 23:1208 by failing
to note the proceeds from the sale of a horse on monthly 1020
forms dealing with income from any business enterprise. Mr.
Johnson had marked "no" on his monthly
questionnaire to questions which read (emphasis in original):
2. For the period covered in this report, did you receive a
salary, wage, sales commission, or payment, including cash,
of any kind?
3. For the period covered in this report, were you
self-employed or involved in any business enterprise? These
include but are not limited to farming, sales work, operating
a business (even if the business lost money), child care,
yard work, mechanical work, or any type of family business?
4. Did you perform any volunteer work during the period
covered in this report?
December 2014, Mr. Johnson sold a horse for $3, 500.
Chesterton terminated Mr. Johnson's benefits, claiming
that this sale was part of a business enterprise and that Mr.
Johnson committed fraud when he denied being part of any
business on his 1020 forms. Mr. Johnson then instituted the
current claim against Chesterton. After a trial on the
merits, the workers' compensation judge found that
Chesterton failed to carry its burden of proof as to the
fraud defense, awarded Mr. Johnson supplemental earnings
benefits at a zero rate of earnings, awarded penalties in the
amount of $8, 000 for the termination of benefits, as well as
attorney fees in the amount of $10, 000. From that decision,
Chesterton appeals. Mr. Johnson answers that appeal, seeking
additional attorney fees for work done on appeal.
asserts two assignments of error. It claims that the
workers' compensation judge erred in denying its La.R.S.
23:1208 fraud claims against Mr. Johnson, and that the
workers' compensation ...