FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION - # 3 PARISH OF
CALCASIEU, NO. 15-06229 CHARLOTTE A. L. BUSHNELL,
WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE
Michael Benny Miller Jacqueline K. Becker Miller &
Associates COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT: Junius Robinson
J. King, Jr. Eric Edward Pope Brett W. Tweedel Blue Williams,
L.L.P. COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/INTERVENOR/APPELLEE: Southeast
Personnel Leasing, Inc.
composed of John D. Saunders, Billy H. Ezell and Jonathan W.
D. SAUNDERS JUDGE
January 2, 2019, the Defendant-Appellee, Southeast Personnel
Leasing, Inc. (Southeast), filed a Motion to Dismiss the
instant appeal of the denial of a motion for new trial.
Southeast contends that the denial of a motion for new trial
is an interlocutory judgment which is not appealable. For the
following reasons, we deny the motion to dismiss the appeal.
October 2, 2015, the Plaintiff-Appellant, Junius Robinson,
filed the instant workers' compensation claim against
Louisiana Rice Mill, Inc. and Capital Staffing, asserting
that he sustained an injury to his back on September 4, 2015,
while acting within the course and scope of his employment.
These two Defendants denied employing Robinson. Southeast
intervened and stipulated that it was considered
Robinson's employer at the time of the alleged accident
for the purpose of paying workers' compensation benefits.
result of the accident, Southeast issued indemnity benefits
to Robinson. Soon thereafter, Southeast scheduled an
appointment for Robinson to be examined by Dr. Harold Granger
on November 30, 2015. When Robinson missed the appointment
and the rescheduled appointment for January 11, 2016,
Southeast suspended his indemnity benefits. The benefits were
reinstated on approximately April 14, 2016, after Robinson
was examined by Dr. Granger. Robinson subsequently sought
penalties and attorney fees in June 2016 for the suspension
of his benefits. The Workers' Compensation Judge (OCJ)
found that Southeast violated the workers' compensation
law by suspending Robinson's benefits without first
obtaining an order compelling his attendance at the medical
examination. Robinson was awarded $8, 000 in penalties and
$6, 000 in attorney fees. On appeal, the ruling was reversed,
with all costs assessed to Robinson. Robinson v. Capital
Staffing, 17-114 (La.App. 3 Cir. 10/18/17), 230 So.3d.
April 5, 2018, Southeast filed a Motion to Enforce Judgment,
seeking an order from the Office of Workers' Compensation
(OWC) to enforce this court's appellate decision.
Southeast stated therein that it had paid the OWC's
judgment in full, including the amount of the suspended
benefits with interest but had not received Robinson's
payment following amicable and written demand. In response,
Robinson filed an Exception of Res Judicata, wherein he
asserted that Southeast never requested this court to allow
Southeast reimbursement of any funds paid towards the
penalties and attorney fees in the judgment. On June 11,
2018, the OWC granted the motion to enforce the judgment as
to the repayment of penalties and attorney fees and ordered
Robinson to repay Southeast $8, 027.10. Also, Robinson's
weekly indemnity payments were reduced by fifty percent,
until such time as the full amount has been repaid to
Southeast. Robinson's counsel was ordered to repay
Southeast $6, 020.33 in a lump sum payment. Lastly,
Robinson's exception of res judicata was denied. Robinson
filed a Motion and Order for New Trial on July 21, 2018,
which was denied following a hearing on August 9, 2018.
correctly asserts that a judgment denying a motion for new
trial is an interlocutory order and is normally not
appealable. See La.Code Civ.P. art. 2083(C).
However, in Edwards v. Southeastern Freight Lines,
Inc., 14-871 (La.App. 3 Cir. 10/15/14), 149 So.3d 1020,
1021, we stated:
[I]n cases in which the motion for appeal states that the
appeal is being taken only from the judgment on a motion for
new trial[, ] but the appellant exhibits the intent to appeal
the judgment on the merits, this court has held that the
appeal can, nonetheless, be considered as an appeal of the
judgment on the merits. McClure [v. City of
Pineville, 05-1460 (La.App. 3 Cir. 12/6/06)], 944 So.2d
805, [writ denied, 07-43 (La. 3/9/07), 949 So.2d
446]; Thompson v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., 95-258
(La.App. 3 Cir. 10/4/95), 663 So.2d 191.
case, it is clear from Robinson's assignments of error
that he seeks to appeal the judgment of June 11, 2018, which
granted Southeast's motion to enforce the judgment,
denied Robinson's exception of res judicata, and ordered
Robinson to repay Southeast by reducing his indemnity
benefits by fifty percent. In as much as Robinson has
demonstrated his intent to appeal the underlying judgment, we
find that the ...