from the Office of Workers' Compensation District 05
Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana Case No.
17-01201 Pamela A. Moses-Laramore, Workers' Compensation
Lindsay F. Louapre JoAnn T. Hymel Brown Sims New Orleans,
Louisiana Counsel for Defendant/ Appellant GCA Services
Williams Baton Rouge, Louisiana Counsel for Plaintiff/
Appellee Ella Hamilton
BEFORE: McCLENDON, WELCH, AND THERIOT, JJ.
Services Group, Inc. ("Appellant") appeals the
judgment of the Office of Workers' Compensation District
05 granting Ella Hamilton's ("Appellee") motion
to limit the scope of an independent medical examination
("IME"). For the following reasons, we reverse the
portion of the judgment ordering the independent medical
examiner not to address maximum medical improvement. We
affirm the portion of the judgment ordering the independent
medical examiner not to address medical condition diagnosis,
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
20, 2015, Appellee suffered injuries to her neck and
shoulders while moving trash bags into a dumpster. At the
time of her accident, Appellee was in the course and scope of
her employment with Appellant as a custodian. Following the
injuries, Appellee filed a workers' compensation claim.
Appellant alleges that it has paid indemnity and medical
benefits to and on behalf of Appellee in connection with
Appellee's workers' compensation claim.
dispute on appeal arises from the conflicting opinions of two
doctors who examined Appellee's injuries. The first
doctor is Appellee's treating neurosurgeon, Dr. Charles
Bowie. Following an examination, Dr. Bowie diagnosed Appellee
with cervical disc disorder and spinal stenosis and
recommended C4-C7 cervical fusion surgery as treatment. At a
rehabilitation conference on January 24, 2017, Dr. Bowie
again recommended C4-C7 cervical fusion surgery and opined
that Appellee's injuries rendered her unable to work. Dr.
Bowie further stated that Appellee's injuries were likely
an aggravation of pre-existing cervical disease and that
Appellee was at risk of neurologic decline if she suffered
further injury. In regard to maximum medical improvement, Dr.
Bowie stated that an actual or anticipated maximum medical
improvement date was still to be decided.
second doctor is Dr. David Ferachi, an orthopedic surgeon
selected by Appellant. Dr. Ferachi found that the incident in
question aggravated Appellee's pre-existing condition of
cervical spondylosis and lumbar spondylosis. Dr. Ferachi also
opined that Appellee could return to work as a custodian if
she did so under the restriction of not lifting more than
twenty pounds. At a rehabilitation conference on February 2,
2017, Dr. Ferachi reiterated that Appellee could perform
light work and found that Appellee should have reached
maximum medical improvement three to six months after the
Dr. Bowie and Dr. Ferachi gave differing opinions as to
Appellee's ability to work and maximum medical
improvement, Appellant filed a request for an IME pursuant to
La. R.S 23:1123. OWCA-Medical Services granted this request
and scheduled an IME with Dr. Thad Broussard.
February 22, 2017, Appellee filed a motion to limit the scope
of the IME. Appellee specifically requested that the
workers' compensation judge limit the scope of the IME to
Appellee's capacity to work. Appellee also asked the
workers' compensation judge to prohibit the independent
medical examiner from addressing any other issues, including
Appellee's medical condition, causation, maximum medical
improvement, and whether medical treatment is reasonable and
necessary. In response, Appellant argued that maximum medical
improvement is a component of, and is directly related to,
Appellee's condition and should be addressed in the IME.
31, 2017, the workers' compensation judge granted
Appellee's motion to limit the scope of the IME.
Specifically, the workers' compensation judge ordered the
independent medical examiner, Dr. Broussard, to only address
Appellee's capacity to work and ordered Dr. Broussard not
to address any other issues including medical condition,
diagnosis, causation, and maximum ...