FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION - District 04
PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. 16-03228 ANTHONY PAUL PALERMO,
WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE
Lindsay Landry, Keogh, Cox & Wilson, Ltd., COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: LCI Workers' Comp
Jeffrey Waltz, The Waltz Law Group, L.L.C., COUNSEL FOR
DEFENDANT/APPELLEE: Jago Solutions, LLC
William H. Beaumont, Roberto Luis Costales, Beaumont
Costales, LLC, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Joel Guzman.
SHANNON J. GREMILLION JUDGE
Joel Guzman, appeals the dismissal of his workers'
compensation claim on an exception of no right of action. For
the reasons that follow, we reverse.
AND PROCEDURAL POSTURE
19, 2016, Mr. Guzman filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation
(1008) against Jago Solutions, LLC and LCI Workers' Comp
alleging that he was injured on September 10, 2015, in
Evergreen, Alabama, when he fell fifteen feet from a ladder.
On September 9, 2016, LCI filed exceptions of lack of
procedural capacity, vagueness and ambiguity, and
insufficiency of service of process. These exceptions were
mirrored by those filed by Jago Solutions. However, Jago
Solutions asserted in its exception of lack of procedural
capacity that it was no longer a juridical person because it
had been dissolved by the filing of an Affidavit of
Dissolution filed with the Louisiana Secretary of State on
May 23, 2016.
October 13, 2016, LCI filed peremptory exceptions of
extinguishment of debt by confusion and no right of action.
It asserted that, by operation of La.R.S. 12:1335.1, Mr.
Guzman, as a member of Jago, personally assumed all
obligations of the limited liability company upon its
dissolution. Therefore, under La.CivCode art. 1903, the
obligee and obligor were "united in the same
person." Thus, the obligation was extinguished.
Jago followed with identical exceptions.
Workers' Compensation Judge (WCJ) heard the exceptions on
November 4, 2016, and granted the exceptions by Judgment
signed on November 7, 2016. Mr. Guzman thereafter perfected
this appeal and argues that the WCJ erred in granting the
exceptions because parties are precluded from presenting
evidence in support of an exception of no right of action and
from asserting affirmative defenses in such an exception.
the trial of the peremptory exception pleaded at or prior to
the trial of the case, evidence may be introduced to support
or controvert any of the objections pleaded, when the grounds
thereof do not appear from the petition." La.Code Civ.P.
art. 931. However, "[n]o evidence may be introduced at
any time to support or controvert the objection that the
petition fails to state a cause of action." Id.
Evidence is admissible to support or controvert an exception
of no right of action. Howard v. Adm'rs of Tulane
Educ. Fund, 07-2224 (La. 7/1/08), 986 So.2d 47.
function of the exception of no right of action is to
determine whether the plaintiff belongs to the class of
persons to whom the law grants the cause of action asserted
in the suit." Reese v. State, Dep't of Pub.
Safety and Corr., 03-1615, p. 2-3 (La. 2/20/04), 866
So.2d 244, 246. Accordingly:
[t]he focus in an exception of no right of action is on
whether the particular plaintiff has a right to bring the
suit, but it assumes that the petition states a valid cause
of action for some person and questions whether the plaintiff
in the particular case is a member of the ...