JEREMY J. LEBOUEF
RPC, INC. D/B/A CUDD ENERGY SERVICES JEREMY J. LEBOUEF
RPC, INC. D/B/A CUDD ENERGY SERVICES
FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION - DISTRICT 4
PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. 15-00967 C/W 15-00970 ADAM C.
JOHNSON, WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE.
L. Riley, The Glenn Armentor Law Corporation, COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Jeremy J. LeBouef
F. Higgins Jeansonne and Remondet, COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: RPC, Inc., d/b/a Cudd Energy Services.
composed of Marc T. Amy, Billy Howard Ezell, and Shannon J.
T. AMY JUDGE.
workers' compensation claimant sought benefits from his
employer in connection with injuries he allegedly sustained
in two work-related accidents. The employer defended the
claims by noting that the claimant's medical records
indicated that the second accident was caused by a possible
opiate overdose and arguing that the claimant's alleged
injuries predated both accidents. The employer also filed a
reconventional demand against the claimant, alleging that the
claimant had willfully made false statements and
misrepresentations in order to obtain benefits, and that
accordingly, the employer was due restitution pursuant to
La.R.S. 23:1208. The workers' compensation judge
dismissed both claims as well as the employer's claim for
restitution. Both parties appeal these consolidated matters.
For the following reasons, we affirm.
and Procedural Background
to the record, on February 12, 2015, Jeremy J. LeBouef filed
two disputed claims for compensation (Form 1008s) against his
employer, RPC, Inc. d/b/a Cudd Energy Services (Cudd). The
first Form 1008, bearing Office of Workers' Compensation
(OWC) docket number 15-00967, stemmed from an alleged
accident that occurred on March 6, 2014, in which the
claimant asserted that, while attending a safety meeting at
his employer's Broussard office, the chair in which he
was sitting broke, "causing him to fall and injure his
thoracic and lumbar spine."
second Form 1008, bearing OWC docket number 15-00970, stemmed
from an alleged accident that occurred in Pennsylvania on
January 23, 2015, in which the claimant asserted that, while
loading his truck to travel from the bunkhouse to a job site,
he slipped on icy ground and fell, hitting his head. He
testified that he has no memory of what occurred after the
fall and that he only remembers waking up in the hospital. He
further alleged that he was unconscious for approximately
three hours until a coworker found him in the bunkhouse and
that he suffered "head injuries, an injury to the hip
leading to necrosis with hip replacement, and an aggravation
of the prior back injury from the March 6, 2014
denied liability for both claims. Upon Cudd's motion, the
workers' compensation judge consolidated the claims. By
an Amended Answer and Reconventional Demand, Cudd asserted
that the claimant "violated [La.R.S.] 23:1208 by
willfully making misrepresentations and false statements
about his past history of medical treatment, how the
accidents occurred, and his injuries from the accidents[,
]" and that "such misrepresentations and false
statements were made intentionally and for the purpose of
obtaining worker's [sic] compensation benefits."
Accordingly, Cudd sought forfeiture of benefits paid, as well
as restitution of costs and attorney fees.
trial, Cudd asserted that the 2015 accident resulted not from
slipping on icy ground, but from an opiate overdose, such
that the claimant should be barred from receiving
compensation per La.R.S. 23:1081. In support of this
assertion, Cudd pointed to records from emergency medical
services and hospital records immediately following the
accident. The hospital records provide an assessment of
"[u]nresponsiveness and hypothermia in the setting of
suspected narcotic overdose" and indicate that there was
"[n]o established cause albeit with suspicion of
medication overdose as a basis for present
circumstance." The records further indicate that the
claimant regained consciousness after being administered
Narcan, which, according to the deposition testimony of
Cudd's emergency medicine expert, Dr. Michael Odinet, is
"a reversal agent for opioids -- opiates." Dr.
Odinet also testified that Narcan "won't do
anything" unless the person is suffering from an opiate
overdose. Additionally, emergency medical services records
indicate that the claimant was "unresponsive, "
that his "pupils were noted as constricted" and
that he had "red 'frothy' liquid coming from his
mouth[, ]" symptoms which Dr. Odinet described as
consistent with opiate overdose.
hospital records further indicate that his urine tested
positive for opiates, and that emergency medical services had
reported that he had a "fresh needle mark to the left
forearm[, ]" but that the claimant denied
"injecting himself with anything" and denied drug
use. When asked at trial why the hospital records indicated
that he had opiates in his system at the time of the
accident, he replied, "I think I took one earlier in the
day[, ]" thereafter clarifying that he had taken the
pain medication Norco, for which he had a prescription,
because he was "in pain." When asked at trial why
the hospital records indicated that there had been a fresh
injection mark in his arm, he stated that he had "never
injected any medications before" and that he had
"splatter marks" on his arms from welding.
Odinet, who did not personally examine the claimant but
evaluated his medical records, testified that he believed an
opiate overdose was "definitely, the most likely
cause" of the 2015 accident. He pointed out in his
testimony that, despite the claimant's allegation that he
had a "knot" on his head, none of the hospital
records indicate that the claimant suffered any head
injuries, as a physical examination of his head was described
as "atraumatic[, ]" and two CT scans taken at the
hospital following the accident revealed no abnormalities. He
also testified that he believed the claimant's medical
records revealed a "pattern of drug seeking behavior[,
]" as he saw two pain management doctors concurrently,
and in April 2013, he had a Norco prescription from each
addition to its intoxication defense, Cudd further asserted
that the claimant's alleged injuries pre-existed both
alleged accidents. In support of this assertion, Cudd
presented medical records predating the 2014 accident, dating
back to 2004, indicating a history of the claimant
complaining of back and/or hip pain. Cudd stated that the
records revealed that the claimant saw a pain management
doctor for "chronic and daily low back pain"
"nearly every month between March 2013 and the March
2014 work accident[, ]" and that notably, the claimant
met with another pain management doctor the day before the
2014 accident and was sent home from work that day due to low
back pain. The claimant did not dispute the accuracy of these
records during cross-examination, admitting that he had
sought treatment for "some back problems" prior to
the 2014 accident. He further stated that his back pain
"got extremely worse" after the 2014 accident, but
then "started to" improve. However, he testified
that after the 2015 accident, his back pain again "got
extremely worse" and that he "could barely walk[,
]" rendering him unable to work until his doctors
cleared him for work in October 2015. However, the record
indicates that a doctor that he saw in Pennsylvania, Dr.
Steven Renzi, released him for full duty on January 27, 2015.
his alleged hip injury, orthopedic surgery expert Dr. Harold
Granger, who independently examined the claimant in September
2015, testified that the claimant suffered from necrosis of
the femur, but that he did not believe that the condition was
related to either work accident because it is "not
something that shows up acutely after a fall. This is
something that has been there a while." Moreover, the
claimant's treating physician for his hip, Dr. Scott
Yerger, stated in an operative report dated May 19, 2015 that
the claimant "underwent left total hip arthroplasty . .
. performed secondary to avascular necrosis, likely due to
alcohol usage." This report further states that
"today [the claimant] eluded [sic] to severe alcohol
usage that prior to this he has not been forthcoming with[,
]" and that Dr. Yerger "expressed the need for him
to seek alcohol and drug counseling[.]"
ruling, the workers' compensation judge dismissed both of
the claimant's disputed claim forms, finding that the
claimant "failed to meet his burden of proof that he
sustained an accident on January 23, 2015."
Additionally, the workers' compensation judge dismissed
Cudd's reconventional demand, finding that Cudd
"failed to meet their burden of proof that Mr. LeBouef
violated the provisions of the Louisiana Revised Statute[s]
claimant appeals,  assigning as error the following:
1. The trial court erred in finding Mr. LeBouef failed to
meet his burden of proof regarding the January 23, 2015
accident, and dismissing the claims raised in the second
2. The trial court erred in finding Mr. LeBouef's
injuries were not caused by or aggravated by the January ...