Appeal from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court In and for
the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana No. C641025
Sec. 22 The Honorable Timothy E. Kelley, Judge Presiding
Christopher L. Whittington Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Drew
Eastman Nordgren Baton Rouge, Louisiana Attorneys for
Plaintiff/ Appellant Joycelyn Beasley.
E. Unsworth III Metairie, Louisiana Attorney for Defendant/
Appellee Nezi, LLC d/b/a Subway.
BEFORE: McDONALD, McCLENDON, WELCH, CRAIN, AND HOLDRIDGE, JJ.
plaintiff, Joycelyn Beasley, appeals a judgment sustaining an
exception of subject matter jurisdiction and dismissing a
tort suit she filed against her employer, Nezi, LLC d/b/a
Subway. We affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
allegedly sustained injuries in a slip and fall that occurred
at her place of employment, a Subway restaurant owned by Nezi
in Baker, Louisiana. Beasley was employed as a manager and
primarily assigned to the Baker location. According to her
petition, Beasley was on her "day off when an employee
at the Baker restaurant telephoned to advise her the ice
machine was not operating, so no ice would be available for
the upcoming lunch crowd. Beasley called the supervisor, who
was in Greensburg and said it would be difficult for her to
get ice to the Baker location in time for lunch. Beasley
decided to obtain the ice herself and deliver it to the
restaurant. After arriving with the ice, Beasley walked
toward the ice machine to see if she could fix it; however,
while walking towards the machine, she slipped and fell in a
puddle of water.
sued Nezi in tort, alleging her co-employees allowed water
from a leaking water heater to accumulate on the floor, which
created an unreasonable risk of harm. In an apparent effort
to avoid the exclusive remedy of Louisiana's Workers'
Compensation Act (the Act), Beasley alleged she was not
within the course and scope of her employment at any time on
the day of the accident. Rather, according to the petition,
she delivered the ice and checked on the machine "[a]s a
favor and purely gratuitously, " without compensation
and without being subject to anyone's direction or
answered the suit and filed an exception of lack of subject
matter jurisdiction, asserting Beasley's exclusive remedy
was under the Act. After a hearing on the exception, the
district court found the accident occurred during the course
of Beasley's employment, stating in oral reasons that
Beasley's actions were for the "benefit of the
company" and "the necessities of the business
require[d] that she be there and do that at the time [the
accident] occurred." The district court sustained the
exception and signed a judgment dismissing all claims.
is the legal power and authority of a court to hear and
determine an action of the parties and to grant the relief to
which they are entitled. La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 1.
Jurisdiction over the subject matter is the legal power and
authority of a court to hear and determine a particular class
of actions or proceedings, based upon the object of the
demand, the amount in dispute, or the value of the right
asserted. See La. Code Civ. Pro. art. 2.
to certain exceptions not relevant to this case, original
jurisdiction over all claims arising under the Act is vested
exclusively with workers' compensation judges.
See La. Const. Art. V, § 16(A); La. R.S.
23:1310.3F; Bracken v. Payne & Keller Co., Inc.,
15-1760 (La.App. 1 Cir. 8/10/16), 199 So.3d 1164, 1168,
writ denied, 16-1791 (La. 11/29/16), 211 So.3d 389.
The Act applies to actions by an employee against her
employer for injuries sustained in an accident "arising
out of and "in the course of her employment.
See La. R.S. 23:1031A and 1032A(1)(a). These dual
requirements are distinct but cannot be considered in
isolation from each other; a strong showing in one may
compensate for a relatively weak showing in the other.
See Guillory v. Interstate Gas Station, 94-1767 (La.
3/30/95), 653 So.2d 1152, 1154.
principal criteria for determining "course of
employment" are time, place, and employment activity.
Mundy v. Department of Health and HumanResources,593 So.2d 346, 349 (La. 1992). An
accident occurs in the course of employment when the employee
sustains an injury while actively engaged in the performance
of her duties during work hours, either on the employer's
premises or at other places where employment activities take
the employee. McLin v. Industrial Specialty Contractors,
Inc., 02-1539 (La. 7/2/03), 851 So.2d 1135, 1140. The
requirement that an employee's injury "arise out of
her employment relates to the character or origin of the
injury suffered by the employee and whether the injury was
incidental to the employment. McLin, 851 So.2d at
1140. An accident arises out of employment if the employee
was engaged about her employer's ...