FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION - # 3 PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 15-06229 CHARLOTTE L. BUSHNELL, WORKERS'
Michael B. Miller Attorney at Law COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE: Junius Robinson
E. Pope Pamela Noya Molnar Blue Williams, L.L.P. COUNSEL FOR
INTERVENOR-APPELLANT: South East Personnel Leasing, Inc.
composed of Marc T. Amy, Elizabeth A. Pickett, and Billy
Howard Ezell, Judges.
ELIZABETH A. PICKETT JUDGE.
employer in this workers' compensation suit appeals a
judgment that awarded the employee penalties and attorney
fees against it because the employer improperly suspended the
employee's indemnity benefits after he failed to attend
two medical examination appointments that it scheduled. For
the following reasons, we reverse the judgment.
October 2, 2015, Junius Robinson filed an LDOL 1008 claim,
alleging that he was injured while working in the course and
scope of his employment with LA Rice Mill, Inc. and Capital
Staffing. These two defendants denied employing Mr. Robinson.
South East Personnel Leasing, Inc. (South East) filed a
petition of intervention in which it averred that Mr.
Robinson was its employee and that he was leased to its
client, Capital Welding Fabrication, Inc. South East assumed
the defense in this matter.
issuing indemnity benefits to Mr. Robinson, South East
scheduled an appointment for him to be examined by Dr. Harold
Granger on November 30, 2015. Mr. Robinson missed the
appointment, and South East rescheduled the appointment for
January 11, 2016. Mr. Robinson arrived at the appointment
more than forty-five minutes late and was informed that Dr.
Granger had left his office for the day. South East
suspended Mr. Robinson's indemnity benefits after he
missed the second appointment with Dr. Granger but reinstated
those benefits on approximately April 14, 2016, after he was
examined by Dr. Granger.
2016, Mr. Robinson filed a motion seeking penalties and
attorney fees for the suspension of his benefits. After a
hearing, the workers' compensation judge (WCJ) determined
that South East violated the workers' compensation law by
suspending Mr. Robinson's benefits without first
obtaining an order compelling his attendance at the medical
examination and awarded Mr. Robinson $8, 000 in penalties and
$6, 000 in attorney fees.
East filed a writ application with this court, seeking
reversal of the judgment on the basis of four assigned
errors. Upon review of the writ application, another panel of
this court concluded that the WCJ's judgment at issue
herein is a final appealable judgment and converted the writ
application to an appeal. See Junius Robinson v. Capital
Staffing, 16-829 (La.App. 3 Cir. 12/1/16) (unpublished
East urges that the WCJ committed the following errors that
warrant reversal of the judgment against it:
1. The lower Court erred in ruling that an Employer is
required to obtain an order compelling a Claimant to attend a
second medical opinion appointment prior to the suspension of
benefits, in light of the amendments to La.R.S. 23:1124, and
in awarding penalties and attorney fees as a result.
2. The lower Court erred in failing to allow Employer's
claims adjuster to testify that the Claimant was served via
certified mail when analyzing Employer's compliance with
La.R.S. 23:1201.1(A)(4) and (5).
3. The lower Court improperly awarded attorney fees and
penalties at this intermediate juncture of the proceeding, as
litigation is ongoing and the Court's ruling has the
potential to subject Employer to additional attorney fees
and penalties in violation of the [Workers'] Compensation
4. The lower Court erred in the amount of penalties and
attorney fees it awarded given the amount of legal work
involved [in] the filing and appearance at a hearing for one
motion and [in its assessment of] the maximum ...