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Clavo v. Fara Insurance Service

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fourth Circuit

January 30, 2019

JULIE CLAVO
v.
FARA INSURANCE SERVICE AND LSU HEALTHCARE MEDICAL CENTER OF NEW ORLEANS

          APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION NO. 17-07959, DISTRICT "08" HONORABLE Catrice Johnson-Reid, The Office of Workers' Compensation

          Julie Clavo PRO SE APPELLANT

          Jeff Landry Attorney General Bailey Adams Juhas Assistant Attorney General Louisiana Department of Justice Litigation Division COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE

          Court composed of Judge Terri F. Love, Judge Daniel L. Dysart, Judge Paula A. Brown

          PAULA A. BROWN, JUDGE

         This matter arises out of a dispute over the payment of workers' compensation benefits. Appellant/employee, Julie Clavo, filed a claim for compensation benefits on December 14, 2017 (the "2017 Claim") arising out of an April 3, 2008 work-related accident. Appellee/employer, State of Louisiana, through the Board of Supervisors for Louisiana State University Agricultural and Mechanical College, Medical Center of Louisiana at New Orleans ("MCLNO"), filed a peremptory exception of prescription. Ms. Clavo appeals the Office of Workers' Compensation (the "OWC") May 30, 2018 judgment, which granted MCLNO's exception of prescription and dismissed Ms. Clavo's 2017 Claim with prejudice. For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Ms. Clavo was employed as a phlebotomist supervisor with MCLNO. She filed a first report of injury form alleging that on or about April 3, 2008, she slipped and fell on a wet stairway, injuring her back, leg, and neck. Ms. Clavo retained Hugh E. McNeely ("Mr. McNeely") to represent her in a claim for workers' compensation benefits (the "Original Claim"). On or around February 11, 2011, Mr. McNeely and counsel for MCLNO represented to the OWC that the parties had reached a compromise and filed a motion to voluntarily dismiss Ms. Clavo's Original Claim.

         On March 28, 2012, Ms. Clavo, now represented by Attorney Deidre Peterson, again filed a claim for compensation benefits arising out of the same April 3, 2008 accident (the "2012 Claim"). The OWC held a trial on the 2012 Claim on July 30, 2012. At the conclusion of Ms. Clavo's case in chief, MCLNO filed a motion for involuntary dismissal pursuant to La. C.C.P. art. 1672.[1] On August 13, 2012, the OWC granted MCLNO's motion for involuntary dismissal and dismissed Ms. Clavo's 2012 Claim with prejudice.

         Ms. Clavo filed a complaint with the Office of Disciplinary Counsel ("ODC") against Mr. McNeely on November 27, 2013, alleging, in part, that he had failed to communicate with her and had improperly dismissed her Original Claim without her consent. On December 14, 2017, the Louisiana Supreme Court found that Mr. McNeely should be sanctioned for misconduct in connection with his representation of Ms. Clavo.

         On December 14, 2017, Ms. Clavo, through Attorney Peterson, filed the 2017 Claim, again seeking compensation benefits for the April 3, 2008 accident. In addition to asserting that no benefits had been paid, Ms. Clavo alleged the disputed claim arose because Mr. McNeely and the MCLNO attorney had "made intentional misrepresentations of a fictitious settlement agreement" and committed fraud by voluntarily dismissing her Original Claim.

         On March 13, 2018, MCLNO filed an exception of prescription, exception of res judicata, and motion for sanctions in response to the 2017 Claim. MCLNO submitted an affidavit in support of the exception of prescription from its claims adjuster attesting that the last indemnity payment made to Ms. Clavo was on November 20, 2012, and the last medical payment submitted on her behalf was paid on November 6, 2013. On May 30, 2018, the OWC judge sustained MCLNO's exception of prescription and dismissed Ms. Clavo's 2017 Claim with prejudice.

         This appeal followed.

         LAW ...


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