FRANK J. VERRET
TYSON FOODS, INC.
FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION - # 4 PARISH OF
LAFAYETTE, NO. 15-01869 ANTHONY PAUL PALERMO, WORKERS'
Jeffrey C. Napolitano Juge, Napolitano, Guilbeau, Ruli, and
Frieman COUNSEL FOR EMPLOYER-APPELLANT: Tyson Foods, Inc.
K. Burdette COUNSEL FOR CLAIMANT-APPELLEE: Frank J. Verret
composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, Billy Howard Ezell, and
Candyce G. Perret, Judges.
ELIZABETH A. PICKETT JUDGE.
Foods, Inc. appeals the judgment of the Office of
Workers' Compensation (OWC) finding that the court had
subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate Frank Verret's
claim against Tyson and the award of workers'
compensation benefits to Mr. Verret.
Verret, a resident of Lafayette, Louisiana, was employed as a
long-haul truck driver for Tyson on January 25, 2015. On that
date, Mr. Verret lost control of his truck and crashed into
the barrier in the median of a highway in Durant County,
Oklahoma. Mr. Verret suffered lacerations to his hand and
complained of back pain to the emergency medical personnel
who responded to the scene of the accident. He was
transported to the Medical Center of Southeast Oklahoma
emergency room, where he repeated his complaints of back
pain. The hospital records show Mr. Verret's back was
x-rayed. According to hospital records, Mr. Verret was given
prescriptions for Flexeril and Prednisone, though Mr. Verret
denied getting these prescriptions at trial. The emergency
room records also suggest that Mr. Verret follow up with his
doctor within two or three days. Mr. Verret was then
transported to McKinney, Texas for mandatory drug screening
before he returned to the Tyson facility in Springdale,
Arkansas, where he had begun his route on January 24, 2015.
returned to Springdale, Ms. Bonnie Cameron, a nurse employed
by Tyson, scheduled a follow-up appointment for Mr. Verret
with Dr. Karl Haws. She also gave him a voucher to have his
prescriptions from the emergency room doctor filled at a
local pharmacy, though Mr. Verret denies this happened. Mr.
Verret saw Dr. Haws on January 27, 2015. Dr. Haws's
records indicate that Mr. Verret stated that his back pain
had resolved. Mr. Verret denies that he told Dr. Haws that
his back pain was resolved. Dr. Haws noted that Mr. Verret
could return to full-duty work.
employment records indicate Mr. Verret retired from Tyson on
January 28, 2015. He has never returned to work.
Verret filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation on March 26,
2015, alleging injuries to his back and shoulders. Tyson
denied that he was entitled to workers' compensation
benefits. Tyson also filed a motion for summary judgment
(more appropriately a declinatory exception) alleging that
the OWC lacked subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate this
case. The workers' compensation judge (WCJ) referred the
exception to the trial. Following a trial, the WCJ found that
the contract of hire between Mr. Verret and Tyson was formed
in Louisiana, and therefore the OWC had subject matter
jurisdiction. The WCJ further found that Mr. Verret's
back injury was related to the work accident and awarded
benefits retroactive to the date of the accident. The WCJ
found that Mr. Verret's shoulder injury was not related
to the accident. The WCJ did not award penalties and attorney
fees to Mr. Verret. Tyson Food now appeals the judgment of
alleges three assignments of error:
1. The trial court erred in denying the employer's
Exception of Lack of Subject ...