DEBRA S. LENOX
CENTRAL LOUISIANA SPOKES, LLC D/B/A RENEGADE HARLEY, ET AL.
from the Office of Workers' Compensation - District No. 2
Parish of Rapides, No. 17-01470 James L. BRaddock,
Workers' Compensation Judge.
C. Gaiennie, III Chris J. Roy, Sr. Counsel for
Plaintiff/Appellant Debra S. Lenox.
J. Rabalais, Matthew D. Crumhorn, Rabalais Unland, LLP
counsel for Defendants/Appellees Zurich American Insurance
Company Central Louisiana Spokes, LLC D/B/A Renegade Harley.
composed of Billy Howard Ezell, Van H. Kyzar, and Jonathan W.
HOWARD EZELL, JUDGE.
Lenox appeals a judgment from the Office of Workers'
Compensation which, granted summary judgment in favor of her
employer, Central Louisiana Spokes, LLC, d/b/a Renegade
Harley, and its workers' compensation insurer, Zurich
American Insurance Company. The issue on appeal is whether
there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Ms.
Lenox's spinal infection was causally related to her work
Lenox went to work for Renegade Harley in Alexandria,
Louisiana, in April 2014, as a store clerk/manager. On
November 22, 2016, around lunchtime, Ms. Lenox went to the
back to get a pair of boots for a customer. She located the
boots about halfway down a shelf and bent over to get them.
When she bent over, she experienced a weird sensation. She
brought the boots to the customer and chatted with the
customer for a while.
Lenox's husband came by the store to meet her for lunch.
She told him that her back started "killing" her
suddenly and pain was shooting down her right leg. She
reported the incident to Gayle Stolzer, the human resources
person at Renegade Harley. Ms. Stolzer told Ms. Lenox to go
to Kisatchie Medical Center, a walk-in clinic, for treatment.
A drug screen was performed, which was negative. She was
diagnosed with lumbar strain and prescribed Ansaid and
Flexeril. She then went home.
next day, Ms. Lenox woke up in excruciating pain and could
not get out of bed. An ambulance was called, and Ms. Lenox
was taken to St. Francis Cabrini Hospital. A lumbar CT scan
revealed changes at L4-5 and L5-S1, with a possible pars
defect at L5. Dr. Gregory Dowd, a neurosurgeon, consulted on
Ms. Lenox's case. He explained that a pars defect is a
defect in the bony bridge connecting the front and back
portions of the vertebral body. Dr. Dowd opined that the back
and leg pain was suggestive of radiculopathy caused by a
compressed nerve. He ordered an MRI, which was performed on
November 25, 2016.
indicated degenerative disc disease and a small focal disc
protrusion at L5-S1. Dr. Dowd testified that the disc
protrusion at L5-S1 caused significant impression on the
nerve at that level and was likely responsible for the
right-sided lumbar radiculopathy. Ms. Lenox received an
epidural steroid injection on November 27, 2016. During her
stay at St. Francis Cabrini Hospital, Ms. Lenox developed
shoulder pain, so a medical neurologist consulted on her
case. That doctor opined that Ms. Lenox needed a rheumatology
evaluation. She was discharged from the hospital on December
to suffer with pain, Ms. Lenox was taken by ambulance and
admitted to Rapides Regional Medical Center on December 3,
2016. Dr. Dowd's associate, Dr. Michael Drerup, saw Ms.
Lenox. Dr. Drerup noted his concern for sepsis. An MRI was
performed that day with similar findings as the first MRI.
Another MRI was performed on December 9, 2016. This time it
was performed with and without contrast. The MRI indicated
evidence of discitis, osteomyelitis, and possible epidural
Dowd testified that Ms. Lenox developed an infection of the
lumbar spine. She also demonstrated weakness in the form of
foot drop. He stated that the infection caused left-sided
compression whereas the original herniated disc caused
right-sided compression. All issues were at the same L5-S1
level. Dr. Dowd performed surgery on December 11, 2016. Dr.
Dowd testified that the surgery was targeted primarily to
drain the infection and to decompress the affected nerve.
Lenox was discharged from Rapides Regional Medical Center on
December 20, 2016. She was admitted to Christus Dubuis of
Alexandria for long-term care due to the infection. On
February 4, 2017, Ms. Lenox was discharged to St. Francis