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Tassin v. Touro Infirmary and HSLI

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

May 31, 2017

LISA C. TASSIN
v.
TOURO INFIRMARY AND HSLI

         ON APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION, DISTRICT 7 STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 15-3615 HONORABLE SHANNON BRUNO BISHOP, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, LISA C. TASSIN Arthur J. Brewster.

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, TOURO INFIRMARY AND HSLI Wade A. Langlois, III, Brittany A. Cooper.

          Panel composed of Jude G. Gravois, Marc E. Johnson, and Robert M. Murphy.

         AFFIRMED

         JGG

         MEJ

         RMM

          JUDE G. GRAVOIS JUDGE.

         This is a workers' compensation suit. Claimant Lisa Tassin appeals a judgment of the Office of Workers' Compensation rendered on September 15, 2016, which found that she was not entitled to temporary total disability benefits ("TTDs") and that she had failed to carry her burden of proof that she was entitled to supplemental earnings benefits ("SEBs").[1] On appeal, Ms. Tassin argues that the trial court was manifestly erroneous in finding that she was capable of sedentary employment and thus ineligible for TTDs, and that she failed to carry her burden of proof that she is entitled to SEBs.[2] After thorough review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the judgment under review.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Claimant Lisa Tassin, a registered nurse, was working as an operating room nurse at Touro Infirmary ("Touro") when she was injured in the course and scope of her employment while moving an operating room table on October 28, 2010. Ms. Tassin was 47 years old at the time. The facts of her accident, including specifically that she was injured as a result thereof, are not disputed. The nature and extent of her injuries are disputed. The record reflects that while Ms. Tassin was attempting to move the table, she pulled on a part of the table that came loose, causing her to fall backwards. She landed on her coccyx (tailbone), resulting in injuries to her lower back. Prior to this work-related accident, Ms. Tassin had been involved in two motor vehicle accidents in 2009 and 2010 that caused cervical disc injuries resulting in chronic neck pain. At the time of her hospital accident, Ms. Tassin was still under treatment for depression, anxiety, migraines, and neck pain as a result of those earlier motor vehicle accidents.

         Initially, Touro placed Ms. Tassin on light duty work in the medical records department, but she was unable to perform those duties due to pain. She was then placed on a "no-work" restriction and began receiving weekly indemnity benefits (TTDs), medical treatment, and prescription medicine coverage paid by Touro through its third-party administrator, HSLI.

         Ms. Tassin was initially treated by Dr. Andrew Todd, an orthopedist, and Dr. Rand Voorhies, a neurologist. She began treating with Dr. William Knight, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, assigned by HSLI, in 2012. At the time of trial, she continued to be under Dr. Knight's care. Through the time of trial in 2016, Ms. Tassin was evaluated by numerous doctors in several different medical fields. Since her October 28, 2010 work accident, Ms. Tassin has been seen by three neurosurgeons (Drs. Rand Voorhies, James Tran, and Robert Applebaum). She was also seen by two orthopedic surgeons (Drs. Andrew Todd and Chad Millet). She was also evaluated by Dr. Karen Ortenberg, also a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, who performed an independent medical examination ("IME") for the Office of Workers' Compensation in 2014. She also saw a pain management physician in 2012, Dr. Joseph Crapanzano, for a second medical opinion, who referred her for treatment to Dr. Eric Lonseth, also a pain management specialist, who evaluated Ms. Tassin in 2013 and performed one facet joint injection in 2016. Ms. Tassin was also evaluated by two psychologists, Drs. Kevin Greve and Aaron Wolfson, and one psychiatrist, Dr. Kenneth Sumner, who treated Ms. Tassin for anxiety and depression. Additionally, ...


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