FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION DISTRICT 4, NO.
16-05691 HONORABLE SHARON MORROW, WORKERS' COMPENSATION
William J. Casanova Miller & Associates COUNSEL FOR
PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: David Leger
Jeremy Berthon COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: B.O.P. Controls, Inc.
composed of Ulysses Gene Thibodeaux, Chief Judge, Sylvia R.
Cooks and Shannon J. Gremillion, Judges.
R. COOKS JUDGE
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
pertinent facts surrounding this appeal are not in dispute.
On June 9, 2014, while in the course and scope of his
employment with B.O.P. Controls, Inc., David Leger severely
injured his left thumb. The parties submitted to a mediation
wherein they agreed to a full and final settlement of $60,
000.00 on Mr. Leger's claims.
21, 2016, a fully executed "Joint Petition for Approval
of Compromise Settlement" was submitted to the Office of
Workers' Compensation (OWC) for an order of approval as
required by La.R.S. 23:1272(B). There was no dispute that the
settlement conformed to the procedural requirements set forth
in La.R.S. 23:1272(B). The following day, on July 22, 2106,
Mr. Leger tragically and unexpectedly passed away due to
circumstances unrelated to his work accident. As of the date
of Mr. Leger's death, the workers' compensation judge
(WCJ) had not yet signed the order approving of the
settlement. Counsel for Mr. Leger immediately notified the
employer and the OWC of Mr. Leger's death. On July 26,
2016, the employer withdrew from the settlement agreement.
the employer's withdrawal from the settlement, suit was
filed on behalf of Mr. Leger's son and heir, Eddy Leger
(hereafter Plaintiff), seeking approval and enforcement of
the July 21, 2016 submitted settlement. On
10, 2016, after a hearing on the matter, the WCJ approved the
parties' settlement. The WCJ, in oral reasons for
judgment, explained that it was her belief that the plain
wording of La.R.S. 23:1272(B) mandated that she approve the
settlement. A final judgment was signed reflecting that
ruling on November 29, 2016. This appeal followed, wherein
the employer and its workers' compensation insurer, LWCC
(hereafter Defendants), assert the following assignments of
1. The WCJ committed legal error in approving the
workers' compensation settlement of David Leger after he
2. The WCJ committed manifest error in finding a lump sum
payment was in the best interest of the parties and that
the employer consented to the settlement.
issue in this case is whether the WCJ committed legal error
in approving the parties' settlement following the
unexpected death of Mr. Leger. When a settlement in a
workers' compensation claim involves a represented party,
as is the ...