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Grant v. McConnell Painting Corp.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Second Circuit

January 15, 2020

KAREN GRANT Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
McCONNELL PAINTING CORP. AND LUBA CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY Defendants-Appellees

          Appealed from the Office of Workers' Compensation, District 1-W Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 17-07688 Linda Lea Smith Workers' Compensation Judge

          KAREN GRANT In Proper Person

          LUNN IRION LAW FIRM LLC By: Walter S. Salley Joseph Martin Lattier Counsel for Appellees

          Before PITMAN, GARRETT, and McCALLUM, JJ.

          GARRETT, J.

         The claimant, Karen Grant, appeals a judgment wherein a workers' compensation judge ("WCJ") dismissed her disputed claim for compensation with prejudice on the basis that she failed to prove she had an accident within the course and scope of her employment with McConnell Painting Corporation. We affirm the WCJ's decision.

         FACTS

         The claimant began working for the employer as a painter in October 2016. Her employment was terminated in July 2017.

         In November 2017, the claimant filed a disputed claim for compensation with the Office of Workers' Compensation in which she alleged that she suffered an injury to her right wrist on December 18, 2016. She asserted that she was working at the Louisiana Boardwalk at 1:45 a.m. She stated that she was told to clean up the shop area and pour up the paints into their rightful paint buckets. When she grabbed a full, five-gallon bucket, it "pulled" her hand and "[immediately] my wrist popped." She stated that the supervisor was notified an hour later. The claimant alleged that she was totally incapacitated as a result. In January 2018, the employer and its insurer, LUBA Casualty Insurance Company ("LUBA"), filed their answer.

         Trial was held in November 2018. Both sides admitted into evidence the claimant's medical records and her personnel and payroll records from the employer. In addition to testifying herself, the claimant presented the testimony of her son-in-law and coworker, Phibulus Carhee. The defendants presented the testimony of Marc McConnell, the employer's project manager; Robert McConnell, the employer's president; and Joe Burks, a supervisor who worked for the employer.

         Occurrence of alleged accident

         In support of her claim that she was injured at work, the claimant presented her own testimony and that of her son-in-law, Carhee. Both testified that on December 18, 2016, they were working in the shop, which was a storage space where the employer kept its equipment while painting the Boardwalk's exterior walls. Carhee was washing paint buckets in one room, while the claimant was in another room, pouring paint from five-gallon buckets to one-gallon buckets for use on the job. The claimant testified that she grabbed what she believed was an empty five-gallon bucket and began to walk away. However, the bucket was full. The claimant testified that when the bucket dropped down, she felt her right wrist pop. Carhee testified that he did not see the alleged incident, but he heard the claimant holler that she had hurt herself. When he went to check on her, he observed a five-gallon bucket on the floor and the claimant was holding her right arm. She showed him a knot on top of her wrist. Both testified that she contacted Burks, their supervisor, and that Burks looked at her arm, said she had an "open wrist," and told her to wrap it with blue tape.

         In contrast, Burks testified that the claimant never told him she was involved in a work-related accident and that he only learned that she was claiming the occurrence of such an accident after she was laid off in July 2017. Marc McConnell testified that he was unaware of a work-related accident involving the claimant. Robert McConnell testified that he first became aware of the alleged work accident in September 2017.

         Medical ...


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