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Knight v. Imperial Trading Co.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Fifth Circuit

May 29, 2019

SONDIER KNIGHT
v.
IMPERIAL TRADING CO.

          ON APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION, DISTRICT 7, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 18-3511, HONORABLE SHANNON BRUNO BISHOP, JUDGE PRESIDING

          COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLANT, SONDIER KNIGHT DaShawn P. Hayes

          COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, IMPERIAL TRADING CO. B. Scott Cowart Jennifer A. O'Connell

          Panel composed of Judges Robert A. Chaisson, Stephen J. Windhorst, and John J. Molaison, Jr.

          ROBERT A. CHAISSON, JUDGE

         In this Workers' Compensation case, Sondier Knight appeals a judgment sustaining an exception of prescription filed by Imperial Trading Company ("Imperial"), which dismissed Ms. Knight's claim with prejudice. For the reasons set forth herein, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.

         FACTS & PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         On April 26, 2017, Ms. Knight presented herself to the West Jefferson Medical Center emergency room with complaints of left arm, shoulder and chest pain. According to the doctor's notes from that visit, these injuries were sustained at work and were the result of "lifting or pulling a heavy object." Ms. Knight was discharged that day with a diagnosis of "chest pain-muscle strain," with instructions to follow-up with her family doctor in one to two days. Ms. Knight did not follow-up with her family doctor as instructed. She never returned to work at Imperial after this accident.[1]

         Three months later, on July 26, 2017, Ms. Knight presented herself to the SouthShore Physician Group with complaints of left shoulder and chest pain that she related to her April 26, 2017 accident at work. She was diagnosed with thoracic strain, left shoulder strain and left anterior chest contusion, and was prescribed a course of office therapy three times per week.

         On May 30, 2018, more than one year after her alleged April 26, 2017 work-related accident, Ms. Knight filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation against Imperial seeking workers' compensation benefits for the injuries she sustained in the April 26, 2017 accident. Imperial filed an answer to the Disputed Claim for Compensation in which it denied all of Ms. Knight's allegations, including whether an accident occurred on April 26, 2017.

         Along with its answer, Imperial also filed a peremptory exception of prescription in which it argued that Ms. Knight's claim for compensation had prescribed pursuant to La. R.S. 23:1209(A), because it was filed more than one year from the date of the accident. In opposition to this motion, Ms. Knight argued that prescription had not yet run on her claim because her injury did not develop immediately after the accident, but rather only when she was diagnosed by the SouthShore physician on July 26, 2017. Following a hearing, the trial court rendered judgment sustaining Imperial's exception of prescription and dismissed Ms. Knight's claim with prejudice. It is from this judgment that Ms. Knight now appeals.

         DISCUSSION

         This Court recently articulated the law on prescription of claims for workers' compensation benefits in Eugene-Robinson v. East Jefferson General Hospital:

Under La. R.S. 23:1209(A), claims for workers' compensation benefits must be filed within (1) one year from the date of the accident; (2) one year from the last compensation payment for total disability or three years from the last payment of supplemental earnings benefits; or (3) one year from the date the injury develops, if the injury does not result at the time of or immediately after the accident, but no more than three years from the date of the ...

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