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Workers' Compensation

US: Claimant May Not Use Federal Court to Re-litigate Unsuccessful Comp Claim

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently affirmed the dismissal of a plaintiff’s § 1983 [42 U.S.C.S. § 1983] civil rights claim that alleged that her employer and others had fraudulently influenced her and had conspired to interfere with her rights under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act.  Plaintiff, a former phlebotomy supervisor, injured her back when she fell at work.  She eventually agreed to settle her workers’ compensation claim and the state Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration closed the case.  She later sought to reopen her case, claiming her employer and others had acted fraudulently in inducing her settlement.  The WCA judge dismissed her new claims without permitting discovery and the plaintiff then filed the civil action under 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983.  The Fifth Circuit acknowledged that plaintiff had attempted to establish jurisdiction by framing her case as a § 1983 claim, but agreed with the district court that parties may not obtain federal review of state decisions merely by recasting what was effectively an administrative appeal as a civil rights claim.  Her allegations amounted to nothing more than an appeal of the WCA judge’s decision.

Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to

See Clavo v. Townsend, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22612 (5th Cir., Nov. 7, 2013) [2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 22612 (5th Cir., Nov. 7, 2013)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 127.07 [127.07]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.



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