from the First Judicial District Court for the Parish of
Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 573, 975 Honorable Michael
A. Pitman, Judge
MORRIS, DEWETT & SAVOIE, LLC By: G. Adam Savoie Counsel
& PEARCE, APLC By: Theodore J. Casten Stuart J. Crichton
Counsel for Appellees
BROWN, WILLIAMS, and BLEICH (Pro Tempore), JJ.
plaintiff, Ellen Frazier, appeals a judgment in favor of the
defendants, City of Shreveport and Art Patterson. The trial
court found that the plaintiff's exclusive remedy for her
personal injury was a workers' compensation claim. For
the following reasons, we affirm.
Frazier and Art Patterson were employed by the City of
Shreveport in the Airfield Maintenance Division, which is
located at the Shreveport Regional Airport. Frazier and
Patterson worked the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday
through Friday. On January 22, 2013, shortly before 5 p.m., a
low-impact collision occurred in the employee parking lot
when Patterson backed a city-owned truck into the rear bumper
of Frazier's personal vehicle. The airfield maintenance
building and adjacent parking lot were enclosed with a
barbed-wire fence and marked with a sign reading "Air
Operations Area: Restricted." At the time of the
accident, Frazier was in her vehicle, which was stationary
behind the truck. An airport security officer investigated
the accident and prepared a written report. Later that
evening, Frazier visited Willis Knighton Hospital for an
the plaintiff, Ellen Frazier, filed a petition for damages
against the defendants, the City of Shreveport ("the
City"), Art Patterson and her UM insurer, State Farm
Fire & Casualty Company. The motions for summary judgment
filed by the City and plaintiff were denied by the district
court. Plaintiff later agreed to dismiss her claims against
State Farm. After a trial, the district court concluded that
the plaintiff's injury was covered by workers'
compensation, finding that the accident occurred on the
employer's premises before 5 p.m., when plaintiff was
still on duty, and that she faced a risk of an accident when
parking greater than that of the general public, because her
employment required using that small lot in a restricted
area. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the
defendants, dismissing plaintiff's claim for damages.
Plaintiff appeals the judgment.
plaintiff contends the trial court erred in finding that her
recovery was limited to workers' compensation benefits.
Plaintiff argues that workers' compensation is not
applicable because she was not performing work duties at the
time of the accident and the location did not present any
special hazards to the employees.
employee has the right to recover workers' compensation
benefits when injured by an "accident arising out of and
in the course of" his employment. La. R.S. 23:1031(A).
An accident occurs in the course of employment when the
employee sustains an injury while engaged in performing his
duties during work hours, either on the employer's
premises or where job activities take place. The principal
criteria for determining course of employment are time, place
and employment activity. Lafitte-Nesom v. Christus
Schumpert Highland, 50, 496 (La.App. 2 Cir. 2/24/16),
188 So.3d 1100. An accident arises out of employment if the
risk from which the injury resulted is greater for the
employee than for a person not engaged in the employment. The
"arising out of" requirement depends on the
character of the risk that caused the injury and on the
relationship of that risk to the employment.
dual requirements, "arising out of" and "in
the course of" employment, have been treated by the
courts as mutually interdependent concepts such that a strong
showing of one can overcome a weaker showing of the other.
Lafitte-Nesom, supra. Our jurisprudence has been
inclined toward coverage of injuries on the employer's
premises within a reasonable time after completion of an
employee's work day. Even if an employee has finished his
day's work and is in the act of leaving, he is entitled
to a reasonable period while still on the employer's
premises that is regarded as within the course of employment.
Mitchell v. Brookshire Grocery Co., 26, 755 (La.App.
2 Cir. 4/5/95), 653 So.2d 202, writ denied, 95-1115
(La. 6/16/95), 655 So.2d 339. An accident has been held to
arise out of employment if the conditions or obligations of
the employment caused the employee in the course of
employment to be at the place of the accident at the time the
accident occurred. Mitchell, supra. Factual findings
by a trier of fact will not be disturbed absent manifest
error based upon a review of the record as a whole.
Rosell v. Esco, 549 So.2d 840 (La. 1989).
present case, Art Patterson testified that he is employed by
the City as an airfield lighting technician, that he drives
his personal car to work and uses a city-owned truck to
perform his job duties. Patterson stated that he and
plaintiff worked from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each weekday and that
the accident occurred in the airfield maintenance parking
lot, which is the designated parking area for maintenance
employees. Patterson testified that on the date of the
accident he had driven the work truck to the employee lot to
move some personal items from the truck to his private car.
He stated that airfield maintenance employees often waited in
the parking lot for 10-15 minutes before the work day ended,
but were not allowed to leave until 5 p.m. Patterson
testified that as he was getting back into the truck, he saw
plaintiff get in her car and leave the parking space. He
stated that he did not know that plaintiff had stopped behind
the truck because material in the bed of the truck blocked
his view. Patterson testified that he slowly backed the truck
a short distance and hit the rear bumper of plaintiff's
stationary car. Patterson stated that after the accident, he
asked plaintiff why she had stopped behind the truck and she
said because it was not yet time to leave. Patterson
testified that he knew the accident happened at ten minutes
before 5 p.m. because he had looked at his watch and saw the
time. He stated that once the ...