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Workers' Compensation

Louisiana: JCC's Credibility Findings Sufficient to Withstand Employer's Fraud Charge

A Louisiana appellate court affirmed a WCJ's finding that an employer had not reasonably controverted a claim in spite of the employer's evidence that the injured worker had a preexisting co-morbid condition -- a congenital single kidney -- that, coupled with medications taken by the worker to promote kidney health, could have caused the worker's syncopal episodes. The worker fainted one day, was taken to a hospital, diagnosed with dehydration and heat exhaustion, given fluids and discharged. He remained out of work for ten days until he could be cleared by a cardiologist. By that time, however, he had experienced other syncopal episodes and had passed out at home on one occasion. He was released by the cardiologist, but fainted almost immediately after returning to work. The employer indicated it could not accommodate his medical limitations and fired him. He obtained other work, but at lower wages and hours. He sought benefits for that reduction in earnings. The WCJ not only awarded the wage differential, but also entered an award for $6,000 in penalties and $9,500 in attorney's fees. The appellate court affirmed, indicating the employer had neither paid supplemental earnings benefits nor initiated VR services. According to the court, the employer had offered no evidence to show it had reasonably contested the claim.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Woodard v. Chicago Bridge & Iron, 19-891 (La.App. 3 Cir. 07/22/20), 2020 La. App. LEXIS 1101 (July 22, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 135.02.

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

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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