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Broussard v. Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

January 24, 2018

LEE ANN BROUSSARD
v.
ACADIAN AMBULANCE SERVICE, INC., ET AL.

         APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION - DISTRICT 4 PARISH OF LAFAYETTE, NO. 14-03170 ANTHONY P. PALERMO, WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE

          K. Wade Trahan Ottinger Hebert, L.L.C. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS: Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc. SeaBright Insurance Company

          Janice H. Barber Jennifer B. Valois Barber Law Firm COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE: Lee Ann Broussard

          Court composed of Marc T. Amy, D. Kent Savoie, and Van H. Kyzar, Judges.

          D. KENT SAVOIE JUDGE.

         Acadian Ambulance Service, Inc. and Seabright Insurance Company (collectively "Acadian") appeal the judgment of the Workers' Compensation Judge (WCJ) that found in favor of Lee Ann Broussard (Broussard). Broussard answered the appeal, requesting additional attorney's fees for work done on appeal. For the following reasons, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and decline to award additional attorney's fees for work performed by Broussard's attorney on appeal.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Broussard's injury occurred when she tripped over two boxes at her place of employment, the Acadian Ambulance office, on May 25, 2012. She used both of her hands to break the fall and landed on her knees. Broussard saw Dr. Robby LeBlanc, an orthopedic surgeon, for the injuries to her hands. After treating her with splints and injections, Dr. LeBlanc ultimately performed two de Quervain's surgical releases on Broussard. The first surgical release was to her right hand on March 7, 2013. The second release to her left hand occurred on August 8, 2013. Acadian paid medical and wage benefits to Broussard until they were terminated after the second surgery.

         Broussard filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation on May 12, 2014, requesting: (1) reinstatement of benefits; (2) treatment for pain management; (3) her choice of physician, Dr. Joseph Bozelle, Jr.; and (4) penalties and attorney's fees. Acadian argued that Broussard reached maximum medical improvement and was, therefore, released to full duty.

         At trial, the parties stipulated to the following facts:

1. Broussard was employed by Acadian at the time of her accident on May 25, 2012.
2. Broussard sustained injuries in an accident on May 25, 2012, while in the course and scope of her employment with Acadian.
3. Broussard's average weekly wage was $645, which resulted in a temporary total disability benefit (TTD) of $435 per week.
4. Dr. Robby LeBlanc was Broussard's choice of orthopedic surgeon.
5. Dr. LeBlanc performed a right de Quervain's release on Broussard on March 7, 2013, and this surgery was causally related to the May 25, 2012 accident.
6. Dr. LeBlanc performed a left de Quervain's release on Broussard on August 8, 2013, and this surgery was causally related to the May 25, 2012 accident.
7. The last TTD check issued to Broussard covered the time period between September 5, 2013 and October 2, 2013.
8. Broussard requested a referral from Dr. LeBlanc to pain management on October 18, 2013.
9. On October 18, 2013, Dr. LeBlanc did not recommend chronic pain management, and he felt Broussard was at maximum medical improvement.
10. A demand letter was sent to SeaBright Insurance Company on November 4, 2013, requesting authorization for pain management treatment.
11. The pain management treatment was denied via letter dated November 7, 2013.
12. Broussard underwent a court-appointed independent medical examination with Dr. Darrel Henderson on October 28, 2015.
13. Broussard requested a change of orthopedic surgeon to Dr. Darrel Henderson by letter on December 1, 2015.
14. Broussard did not receive a response to the December 1, 2015 request for change of ...

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