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Hall v. Global Solution Services, LLC

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

June 20, 2018

MAXINE HALL
v.
GLOBAL SOLUTION SERVICES, LLC AND ILLINOIS NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY

          APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION NO. 16-06210, DISTRICT "EIGHT" Honorable Robert Varnado, Workers' Compensation Judge

          Maxine Hall PRO SE PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, MAXINE HALL

          Denise M. Ledet JUGE NAPOLITANO GUILBEAU RULI & FRIEMAN, APLC COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLEES, GLOBAL SOLUTIONS, LLC AND ILLINOIS NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY

          Court composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Joy Cossich Lobrano, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins

          Terri F. Love, Judge

         This appeal arises from a disputed claim for compensation filed by the plaintiff for injuries sustained while on the job. After a door closed on plaintiffs foot at the hotel where she was working, she was unable to continue working. Plaintiff began to receive workers' compensation benefits, but the benefits were terminated approximately two years after injury. Plaintiff then filed a disputed claim for compensation. Following a trial, the workers' compensation court judge dismissed plaintiffs claims. Plaintiff filed an appeal in proper person contending that she remained entitled to workers' compensation benefits because she continues to suffer from pain and cannot work. We find that the trial court did not commit manifest error by dismissing plaintiffs claims, as there were two permissible views of the evidence, and affirm.

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 12, 2014, Maxine Hall was working as a housekeeper for Global Solution Services, LLC ("Global") when a closet door automatically shut on her left foot while she was performing a turn down service at the Roosevelt Hotel. Ms. Hall was told at the Ochsner emergency room that no bones were broken. However, Ms. Hall continued to experience pain and swelling. Ms. Hall then treated with Dr. Gregory Moldin, who prescribed pain medication. Ms. Hall's caseworker then directed her to Concentra where Ms. Hall received another x-ray and discovered that she had a fracture in her toe. Ms. Hall was placed on crutches and given a boot. Ms. Hall was then treated by an orthopedic surgeon, a neurologist, a vascular surgeon, and a pain management doctor. Ms. Hall contends she received no relief from her pain, continues to experience swelling, tenderness, and is unable to return to work.

         Ms. Hall began receiving workers' compensation benefits as a result of her injuries, but the benefits were terminated on August 7, 2016. Ms. Hall then filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation against Global and its insurer, Illinois National Insurance Company ("Illinois"), seeking a reinstatement of benefits, an authorization for medical treatment, and alleging that Global failed to pay or timely pay for travel expenses. Ms. Hall also requested penalties and attorney's fees. Following the trial, the workers' compensation court judge dismissed Ms. Hall's Disputed Claim for Compensation at her own costs.[1] Ms. Hall filed an appeal in proper person. Ms. Hall contends that the workers' compensation court judge erred by dismissing her claims.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         "Appellate courts review workers' compensation cases using the manifest error-clearly wrong standard of review." Martinez v. Rames, 16-1312, p. 2 (La.App. 4 Cir. 7/12/17), 224 So.3d 467, 470. "In applying the manifest error-clearly wrong standard of review, the appellate court must not determine whether the trier of fact was right or wrong, but only whether the factfinder's conclusion was a reasonable one." Chaisson v. Louisiana Rock Monsters, LLC, 13-1423, p. 3 (La.App. 4 Cir. 4/2/14), 140 So.3d 55, 57. "Where there are two permissible views of the evidence, a factfinder's choice between them can never be manifestly erroneous or clearly wrong." Id. "Thus, 'if the [factfinder's] findings are reasonable in light of the record reviewed in its entirety, the court of appeal may not reverse, even if convinced that had it been sitting as the trier of fact, it would have weighed the evidence differently.'" Banks v. Indus. Roofing & Sheet Metal Works, Inc., 96-2840, p. 8 (La. 7/1/97), 696 So.2d 551, 556, quoting Sistler v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 558 So.2d 1106, 1112 (La. 1990).

         "When legal error interdicts the fact-finding process in a workers compensation proceeding, the de novo, rather than the manifest error, standard of review applies." Tulane Univ. Hosp. & Clinic v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 11-0179, p. 3 (La.App. 4 Cir. 6/29/11), 70 So.3d 988, 990. "Likewise, interpretation of statutes pertaining to workers' compensation is a question of law and warrants a de novo review to determine if the ruling was legally correct." Id.

         DISPUTED CLAIM ...


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