Law School Case Brief
Pickney v. Smith - 597 So. 2d 1195 (La. Ct. App. 1992)
In interpreting the intentional act exception to the exclusive remedy provisions of the Louisiana Worker's Compensation Act, specifically La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 23:1032, the Louisiana Supreme Court construes the legislation as providing that the exclusive remedy rule shall be inapplicable to intentional torts or offenses. The meaning of intent in this context is that the defendant either desires to bring about the physical results of his act or believes they were substantially certain to follow from what he does. Several courts of appeal state the two prongs of the definition in the conjunctive, thus requiring a plaintiff to prove, in order to recover, that the defendant desires the physical results of his act in every case.
Plaintiff employee sued defendant employer for injuries under the intentional act exception to the exclusive remedy provisions of the Louisiana Worker's Compensation Act after the walls of trench caved in upon him. Defendants filed a peremptory exception of no cause of action based on plaintiff's failure to allege a traditional intentional tort. The district court ruled in favor of the defendants. The employee appealed.
Can an employee sue his employer for intentional torts under the Louisiana Worker’s Compensation Act?
Generally, the Louisiana Worker's Compensation Act provided the exclusive remedies for injured employees. However, there is an exception whereby an employee could sue his employer for intentional torts. Nevertheless, the appellate court upheld the jury's finding that based on the evidence, there was an insufficient showing that the employer subjectively intended the injury to befall the employee, or knew or should have known the injury was substantially certain to follow from the employer's conduct.
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