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Louisiana Employee’s Disputed Claim was Prescribed when Filed over Three Years from Employer’s Last Payment of Medical Benefits

In a recent opinion, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal upheld a judgment of the Office of Workers’ Compensation, finding that an injured employee’s claim for compensation was prescribed.  Prescription serves to limit the time period within which workers’ compensation claims may be filed, and in this case, the time period was one year following the accident or injury.  The facts of this case were unique because the employer and employee had entered into a settlement agreement, and the employee argued that he was led to believe that his employer would take care of him.  The court analyzed the four common scenarios under which contra non valentem applies, and it determined that the facts of the underlying case supported the earlier ruling that the claim was time-barred. In this case, the employee worked for Lowe’s Home Centers, and he was injured in April 2006 in the course and scope of his employment. Over the next six years, he received indemnity benefits ($98,746.87) and medical benefits ($127,904.25).  In August 2012, the parties submitted a petition for settlement in which Lowe’s would pay $48,500.00 to settle past, present, and future claims for indemnity benefits, as well as all past reimbursable medical costs related to the alleged accident. The settlement document made clear the parties reserved their rights as they related to the employee’s future medical benefits. In September 2015, the employee filed a Disputed Claim for Compensation, and Lowe’s filed a peremptory exception of prescription, which was granted. The employee appealed.  The […]

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Louisiana Court Affirms Default Judgment in Favor of Plaintiff Hurt by Improperly Installed Lift Kit on Truck

Recently, the Louisiana Third Circuit Court of Appeal reviewed a default judgment entered against a company that allegedly improperly installed a lift kit on a truck. The plaintiff alleged that the company’s negligence led to his serious injuries when a tire came off his truck, and he was forced off the road. A default judgment provides for a judgment of default against a defendant that fails to answer within a set period of time.  In a personal injury lawsuit, plaintiffs are required to show competent evidence that convinces the court it is likely, or probable, that the plaintiff would prevail at trial. The plaintiff in this case filed a Petition for Personal Injuries against a company that had installed a lift kit on the plaintiff’s truck earlier. The plaintiff suffered injuries when the front left tire of his truck allegedly came off his vehicle, forcing the car to leave the roadway and strike a group of trees. According to the plaintiff, the company failed to make him aware that during installation, they had created a dangerous situation because the shearing off of the lug bolts had taken place.

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Louisiana Appellate Court Affirms Holding in Favor of Fast Food Restaurant

Addressing a case involving a claim of negligence based on “deleterious” food, the Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal stated that a restaurant was entitled to judgment as a matter of law when the plaintiff had not met the causation and duty elements of her claim. In this opinion, the court looked at the plaintiff’s “ingestion” of the food at issue and whether medical evidence supported a finding that her alleged injuries resulted from consuming the spoiled food. Relying on Louisiana law and precedent, the court found that the plaintiff, in this case, had not met her burden of proof. During the early morning on Sunday, the plaintiff pulled through a fast-food drive-in and ordered a sandwich and a soda drink. Unfortunately, as she drank, she noticed a funny taste and discovered a live insect swimming in her drink. The plaintiff continued to attend her social obligations but felt nauseous and reported to the emergency room, where the tests came back normal. She then was prescribed medicine and discharged to follow up with her primary care physician.

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Court Denies Plaintiff Compensation Following Accident in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Since Plaintiff’s Conduct Violated the Law and Created Higher Level of Risk

Recently, a Louisiana Court of Appeal addressed the issue of liability in a personal injury lawsuit following injuries to a bicyclist struck by a car.  The bicyclist plaintiff and the defendant driver presented their own versions of the incident, since there were no witnesses. In their opinion, the appellate court stated the rules of tort liability in Louisiana and the requirement that a plaintiff prove fault, causation, and damages in a negligence claim. Here, the lower court had found that the plaintiff failed to meet this burden, since there had not been physical evidence introduced by either party, and the court did not necessarily find the testimony of either party credible. Procedurally, when the trial court judge held the plaintiff had failed to meet his burden of proof and dismissed his claim, the plaintiff appealed that judgment. On appeal, the plaintiff argued that the lower court should have applied Louisiana law regarding comparative fault, among other issues. The defendant countered by stating that the judge had not researched the issue of fault when she had found the plaintiff did not meet his burden of proof. The appellate court stated that tort liability is set forth in La. CC. art. 2315. When a plaintiff brings a negligence action under Louisiana law, they must prove fault, causation, and damages. The court also stated that causation is a factual finding. On appeal, the standard is that of manifest error, meaning that the issue is whether the judge’s conclusion was reasonable. Here, the question was whether […]

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