Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Jackson v. Family Dollar Stores of Louisiana Inc.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

October 24, 2018

ANGELA JACKSON
v.
FAMILY DOLLAR STORES OF LOUISIANA INC., S&S JANITORIAL SERVICES, LLC SMS ASSIST, LLC

          APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION NO. 2015-03662, DISTRICT "08" HONORABLE Catrice Johnson-Reid, The Office of Workers' Compensation

          William R. Mustian, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE.

          Richard J. Richthofen, Jr. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANTS/APPELLANTS

          (Court composed of Judge Roland L. Belsome, Judge Sandra Cabrina Jenkins, Judge Regina Bartholomew-Woods)

          SANDRA CABRINA JENKINS JUDGE

         This is a workers' compensation case. Family Dollar Stores of Louisiana, Inc. ("Family Dollar"); S&S Janitorial Services, LLC ("S&S"); and SMS Assist, LLC ("SMS") (collectively, "Employers"), appeal the January 30, 2017 judgment of the Workers' Compensation Judge ("WCJ") awarding wage and medical benefits, penalties and attorney's fees to appellee, Angela Jackson. Employers also appeal the WCJ's March 22, 2017 judgment denying the Employers' Motion for New Trial. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On June 12, 2015, Ms. Jackson filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation (the "Claim") with the Office of Workers' Compensation ("OWC"). Ms. Jackson reported that, on October 22, 2014, between 10:30 and 11:00 p.m., she was injured at a Family Dollar store in New Orleans. Ms. Jackson stated that a shelf of bottled water fell on her ankle causing a fracture and requiring surgery. The Claim identified Family Dollar as her statutory employer, and alleged that Family Dollar had not paid wage benefits, and had not authorized medical treatment. Ms. Jackson sought penalties and attorney's fees for Family Dollar's arbitrary and capricious denial of benefits.

         On July 20, 2015, Family Dollar filed an Answer to Claim and Third-Party Demand against S&S, seeking a defense and indemnity pursuant to an "Affiliate Master Service Agreement" (the "Agreement") in which S&S contracted to provide floor care services to Family Dollar stores in Louisiana. According to the Third-Party demand, S&S was obligated under the Agreement to obtain workers' compensation insurance for its employees who performed floor preparation and cleaning. In the Answer, Family Dollar denied that Ms. Jackson was an employee at the time of the accident.

         On August 28, 2015, Ms. Jackson filed a Supplemental Disputed Claim for Compensation ("Supplemental Claim") naming S&S and SMS as additional defendants. Ms. Jackson alleged that S&S was her employer at the time of the accident, and that SMS was the general contractor of the work.

         On September 18, 2015, SMS filed an Answer to Ms. Jackson's Supplemental Claim, along with a Third-Party Demand against S&S based on the Agreement's provision requiring S&S to obtain workers' compensation insurance. In the Answer, SMS also denied that Ms. Jackson was an employee on the date of the injury.

         On October 5, 2015, S&S filed an Answer to Ms. Jackson's Claim and Supplemental Claim, also denying that Ms. Jackson was an employee of S&S at the time of the accident.

         A trial was held on January 4, 2017. On January 30, 2017, the WCJ rendered the following judgment:

• On October 22, 2014, Ms. Jackson was a direct employee of Becky Tolito and Tolito Services Company, LLC; and a statutory employee of S&S, SMS, and Family Dollar.[1]
• Ms. Jackson was injured on October 22, 2014 at the Family Dollar store on S. Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans in the course and scope of her employment, and suffered a compensable workplace accident.
• Ms. Jackson sustained and suffered a compensable workplace injury to her ankle after a shelf full of packaged water on the premises of the Family Dollar store on S. Carrollton Avenue fell on top of her leg and ankle.
• Ms. Jackson properly sought and received medical treatment for the ankle injury after the accident at Biloxi Regional Medical Center and follow-up treatment at Bienville Orthopedic Specialists, LLC with Dr. Yakaterina Karpitskaya, and again at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport.
• The employers shall pay all outstanding medical bills for services rendered to Ms. Jackson as they relate to the injuries she received on October 22, 2014 totaling $92, 278.00.
• Ms. Jackson was a recipient of Medicaid benefits at the time of her injury on October 22, 2014, and that those Medicaid benefits were utilized during her treatment for the injuries sustained on October 22, 2014. Employers are liable under La. RS.23:1205 to reimburse Medicaid for any and all amounts paid for services rendered to Ms. Jackson as a result of the October 22, 2014 accident.
• Ms. Jackson was paid $50.00 per store as compensation for working. As a result of the accident, Angela Jackson was rendered temporarily total disabled ("TTD") from October 22, 2014 until April 30, 2015 pursuant to La. R.S. 23:1221(1). The minimum compensation rate in effect at the time of the accident was $168.00/per week. The total TTD figure for 27.28 weeks at $168.00/per week is $4, 584.00.
• Ms. Jackson carried her burden of proof that she was entitled to supplemental earnings benefits ("SEBs") pursuant to La. R.S. 23:1221(3) and she is entitled to SEBs until such time as earning capacity is demonstrated at the rate of $168/per week from May 1, 2015 and until such a time not to exceed a maximum of five hundred and twenty weeks.
• Employers failed to reasonably controvert this claim and/or establish that there were conditions over which they had no control when they failed to pay this claim; penalties are assessed against the employers in the amount of $2, 000.00 pursuant to La. RS. 23:1201(F) for failure to timely pay indemnity benefits.
• Employers failed to reasonably controvert this claim and/or establish that there were conditions over which they had no control when they failed to pay this claim; penalties are assessed against the employers in the amount of $2, 000.00 pursuant to La. RS. 23:1201(F) for failure to timely pay medical benefits.
• Employers are assessed attorney's fees in the amount of $3, 000.00 pursuant to La. R.S. 23:1201(F) for their failure to pay indemnity benefits and medical benefits timely or otherwise. Employers failed to establish they reasonably controverted this claim and/or that there were conditions over which they had no control when they failed to pay this claim.
• This matter shall be dismissed with prejudice, reserving all of Ms. Jackson's future rights.

         On February 9, 2017, Employers filed a Motion for New Trial, which the WCJ denied on March 22, 2017. Employers appealed.

         On August 28, 2017, Ms. Jackson filed a Motion to Dismiss Appeal, pursuant to La. R.S. 23:1310.5(C), because Employers did not post an appeal bond, which is required when there has been an award of workers' compensation benefits. On January 5, 2018, this Court granted Ms. Jackson's motion, dismissed the appeal, and remanded this matter for the setting of a bond. Jackson v. Family Dollar Stores of Louisiana, Inc., 17-0712 (La.App. 4 Cir. 1/5/18), __ So.3d __, 2018 WL 304386. After Employers posted the necessary appeal bond, they filed a Motion to Reinstate Appeal, which this Court denied because of lack of jurisdiction.

         Thereafter, Ms. Jackson filed a writ of certiorari and/or review with the Louisiana Supreme Court, which granted the writ. Jackson v. Family Dollar Stores of Louisiana, Inc., 18-0170 (La. 4/18/18), 247 So.3d 727. On June 27, 2018, the Supreme Court affirmed this court's finding that it could not entertain the appeal until a bond was posted. Jackson v. Family Dollar Stores of Louisiana, Inc., 18-170 (La. 6/27/18), 251 So.3d 368. The Supreme Court found that, because Employers had submitted evidence that the bond had been set and posted, there was no longer an impediment to consideration of the appeal. Accordingly, the Supreme Court remanded this matter to this Court for consideration of the appeal on the merits.

         DISCUSSION

         Standard ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.