Appeal from The Office of Workers' Compensation, District
9 Parish of Terrebonne, State of Louisiana Trial Court No.
11-04733 The Honorable Elizabeth Lanier, Workers'
Compensation Judge Presiding.
Michael E. Parker Lafayette, Louisiana Attorney for
Defendants/ Appellees, Cirrus Allied, LLC and Insurance
Kentucky Guaranty Association
L. Riley Jeremy A. Bazile Lafayette, Louisiana Attorneys for
Plaintiff/Appellant, Kym Hurst
GUIDRY, PETTIGREW, AND CRAIN, JJ.
workers' compensation proceeding, Kym Hurst appeals a
judgment terminating her indemnity and medical benefits. We
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
January 6, 2010, Hurst, a physical therapy assistant, injured
her back while assisting a patient. Before the accident,
Hurst was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and
treated for low back pain on numerous occasions, including in
1999 after an automobile accident, in 2005 when injured while
assisting another patient, and ongoing treatment in 2007,
2008, and 2009.
the 2010 work accident, Hurst filed this proceeding seeking
workers' compensation benefits from her employer, Cirrus
Allied, and its insurer, Ullico Insurance Company. The
parties consented to a judgment awarding Hurst a lump sum of
$46, 192.39 for all claims for indemnity and medical benefits
through December 26, 2012, inclusive of penalties and
attorney fees. The judgment also ordered the defendants to
pay weekly indemnity benefits effective December 27, 2012,
and future medical benefits according to the Louisiana
Workers' Compensation Act.
February 2013, Ullico stopped paying indemnity benefits and,
three months later, was declared insolvent. The Kentucky
Insurance Guaranty Association (KIGA) assumed the claim and
began paying indemnity benefits on May 5, 2014, making a lump
sum payment for accrued, unpaid indemnity benefits through
that date and resuming bi-weekly indemnity payments. Several
events subsequently occurred that prompted Cirrus and KIGA to
file a motion seeking a modification of their compensation
obligations in the consent judgment.
on May 7, 2014, two days after KIGA resumed paying indemnity
benefits, Hurst had an automobile accident. Within a week,
she presented to her primary care physician and, referencing
the automobile accident, complained of "significant pain
in her low back." She had additional treatment through
June 23, 2014. Hurst did not inform KIGA or Cirrus of the
automobile accident and settled a claim arising from the
accident without their knowledge or consent.
early 2014, Hurst began treating with Advanced Neurosciences
Institute, complaining of headaches, cognitive impairment,
sensory disturbance, muscle cramps, imbalance, and gait
impairment. On July 1, 2014, after numerous tests, she was
diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) and began treatment.
on October 13, 2014, Hurst experienced an episode of
"severe lower back" pain after bending over and
feeling a "pop" in her back. The severity of the
pain was immobilizing, and she was transported by ambulance
to a local hospital and admitted overnight for treatment.
According to the EMS records, Hurst reported she "never
had an injury like this in the past." An MRI showed
arthritic changes and bulging discs, but no herniations.
on the foregoing, Cirrus and KIGA filed a motion, later
amended, seeking to terminate their obligation to pay
indemnity and medical benefits because Hurst (1) is no longer
disabled as a result of the January 6, 2010 accident; (2)
forfeited her benefits under Louisiana Revised Statute
23:1208 by receiving indemnity benefits without seeking
medical treatment and failing to comply with treatment
recommendations; and (3) forfeited future benefits under
Louisiana Revised Statute 23:1102 by settling her 2014
automobile accident claim without the consent of Cirrus or
KIGA. In response, Hurst denied the ...