Articles Posted in Random Miscellaneous

workers_construction_worker_work-1-scaledUnfortunately, accidents at the workplace are not uncommon occurrences. What happens, however, when you are injured while traveling? Will you still receive workers’ compensation if you are not physically on the jobsite? The answers to these questions will depend on the facts of the case and whether you were acting within the scope of your employment. The following Caddo Parish case outlines this predicament.  

It is undisputed that Mitchell Stringer was hired at Hand Construction, LLC, sometime after September 30, 2014, and that he was asked to attend a meeting at the company office by John Provost, Vice President for the company, in early October. However, the parties disagree on whether Stringer was terminated at the meeting, as testified by Provost and Adam Hubble, CEO for the company, or was told there would not be any more work for him, but that he would receive two weeks’ severance pay, as testified by Stringer. Stringer’s final paycheck included the date “October 9, 2015.” He was issued a check with “severance” in the ledger for the week ending in October 16, 2015. 

It was also disputed as to whether or not the parties agreed that Stringer would fly to North Dakota to retrieve his vehicle and the company’s GPS equipment. Regardless, on October 8, 2015, Stringer flew to North Dakota to obtain his vehicle and company equipment. Two days later, while traveling from North Dakota to Louisiana, Stringer was involved and injured in a motor vehicle accident in Arkansas.

car_driving_driving_car-scaledBuckle up your seatbelts and get ready for a wild ride through the twists and turns of Bosley’s Driving School saga! Meet Mr. Bosley, the daring entrepreneur behind this driving school extravaganza, with locations in the charming towns of Donaldsonville and Gonzales, Louisiana. Now, picture this: Mr. Bosley is on a mission to teach the art of driving, but not just any driving – he dreams of offering the elusive 38-hour driver’s education course. But, oh, the drama unfolds when his dreams clash with the stern rules and regulations of the Louisiana driver’s education system. Despite a denial that would make even the bravest soul reconsider, Mr. Bosley and his team continued their quest, issuing certificates left and right. Little did they know, the authorities were hot on their tail, leading to a showdown of epic proportions. Fast forward to courtroom battles, administrative hearings, and a rollercoaster of legal twists that could rival any Hollywood blockbuster. Will Mr. Bosley’s driving school dreams come crashing to a halt, or will he find a way to steer his way out of this legal maze? Strap in and find out!

Mr. Bosley owns and runs Bosley’s Driving School for drivers’ education classes. The driving school has two locations—one in Donaldsonville and the other in Gonzales, Louisiana. The Donaldsonville location was licensed to teach 6 hours of classroom instruction, while the Gonzales location was licensed to teach the full 14-hour driver’s education course. Neither location was licensed to teach the 38-hour course. Louisiana offers two types of driver’s education courses: (1) A 14-hour course for individuals over eighteen, which requires 6 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of behind-the-wheel driving, and (2) a 38-hour course for individuals under eighteen, which requires 30 hours of classroom instruction and 8 hours of behind -the -wheel driving. La. R.S. 32:402. 1.

In October 2012, Bosley applied for permission to instruct the 38-hour driver’s ed course. On December 10, 2012, Bosley was notified via email that their application was denied because they needed to meet the curriculum requirements. Regardless of this denial, Bosley continued to issue certificates of completion of the 38-hour course to several students. When the State learned of this, they sent Bosley an order to cease further operations as a driving school and third-party tester in Louisiana. On March 27, 2014, the State notified Bosley that because he was providing students with the 38-hour driver’s education course despite needing to be licensed, his licenses to teach the 6-hour and the 14-hour courses were rescinded. Bosley filed an appeal and requested a hearing. 

alzheimer_s_man_portrait_0-scaledEmployees are often exposed to stressful situations while at work, whether from unhelpful coworkers or understaffing. Under what circumstances are resulting mental injuries entitled to workers’ compensation? 

Diedre Emerson worked for Willis Knighton Medical Center as a certified nurse assistant on the cancer floor. One day, she arrived at work for her regular night shift. She found the prior shift had not completed a lot of their work, so she would have to do additional work. When she learned this, she became upset and mad. She said this was more of the same old behavior.

While working that day, she indicated that she felt something pop in her head but admitted nothing physically happened to cause the pop. After completing her shift, she went to the emergency room. The medical records from the visit did not show she complained about weakness on one side of her body or other neurological symptoms. Her primary complaint was hyperventilation and nervousness. Emerson was subsequently late in calling Willis Knighton to tell them she would not be able to work her shift. She was fired. 

business_signature_contract_962355-scaledOne frequent use of contracts is to establish how much someone will be paid for specified work. Clear contractual language can help prevent disputes down the road. What happens if you do not receive all the compensation to which you are entitled under your contract?

Clifton Franklin and Fountain Group Adjusters signed a contract where Franklin would provide Fountain with insurance adjusting services related to claims from Superstorm Sandy. The contract outlined how Franklin would be compensated by Fountain. Franklin claimed Fountain wanted him to sign a second contract because it could not find the first contract. While the second contract set Franklin’s compensation at 75% rather than the 65% in the initial contract, Franklin only asserted claims for the original 65% commission. 

Claims One employed Franklin during this time. Fountain also signed a contract with Claims One. Although Franklin received some compensation from Fountain, he filed a lawsuit against Fountain, claiming he had not been fully compensation. 

emergency_rescue_stretcher_injured-scaledIf you are injured on the job, it is best practice to inform your employer and supervisor about your injuries. They will likely inform you about possible workers’ compensation to which you might be entitled. Are you still eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits if you tried to hide your injury from your employer?

Gary Jeansonne worked as a maintenance worker at a youth center located in Bunkie, Louisiana. Over two months after Jeansonne stopped working at the center, he filed a claim for workers’ compensation, claiming he had hurt his back while working at the center. He claimed the accident had occurred while he was working in the kitchen. Jeansonne claimed to have called his supervisor the next morning to tell him he would not be able to come in to work due to his back, but he did not tell his supervisor his back issues were from an injury at work. 

Jeansonne started receiving medical treatment for his back injuries. His medical records indicate he told his doctor the accident that hurt his back occurred at home. Jeansonne subsequently claimed the report was not accurate and he had just said the incident occurred at home because he wanted to be able to go back to work. 

prison_alcatraz_prison_wing-scaledEven while an inmate, you are still entitled to damages if you are injured on the job. If you are injured while working in a release program, are you entitled to compensation through the workers’ compensation scheme? 

Lindsey French was serving a sentence for drug and firearm charges at the detention center in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana. Inmates at the detention center could be released to work for the police as part of the highway maintenance crew. French volunteered to join the crew. While on the crew, French was responsible for operating a tractor.

One day, the tractor French was using hit a tree stump. French was not wearing his seat belt. He fell through an opening in the tractor and fractured his pelvis.

house_architecture_brick_door_0-scaledIn order to recover under a homeowner’s policy, there are many requirements with which you must comply. One common requirement is providing the insurer with requested documentation and undergoing an examination under oath where the insurer can ask questions and gather information relevant to the claim. What happens if a homeowner delays undergoing an examination under oath?

Jesse and Dena McCartney’s house was destroyed in a fire. They filed a claim with Shelter Mutual Insurance, who issued their homeowner’s policy. Their policy required that they cooperate with the insurer, including answering questions under oath and submitting proof of loss. The McCartneys filed a lawsuit against Shelter for refusing to pay them anything. 

Shelter filed a summary judgment motion, arguing the McCartneys had not provided the required requested information and had refused to submit to an examination under oath. The McCartneys claimed they had not refused to cooperate with the investigation and had submitted documentation and recorded statements. They also claimed they had only postponed the examination under oath, not refused it. They noted Shelter had requested an examination under oath more than sixty days after the McCartneys submitted their proof of loss, which was after the time by when Shelter was required to pay them or make a settlement offer. The trial court granted Shelter’s summary judgment motion, explaining the McCartneys had voided their policy by not submitting to an examination under oath. The McCartneys filed an appeal. 

usps_mcveytown_pa_17051-scaledNo one should have to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. If you are dealing with sexual harassment at work and you report it to your employer, you hope they will act on your report. How do actions taken by your employer affect your ability to recover for sexual harassment in court?

Shelita Tucker worked for UPS in Port Allen, Louisiana for three years. One of the subordinates she managed was Larry McCaleb. Tucker claimed McCaleb sexually harassed her for about two years. His alleged sexual harassment involved inappropriate touching. Soon after the incident with the inappropriate touching, Tucker reported what had happened to the business manager. McCaleb was taken out of service while the investigation was ongoing. The next day, Tucker filed a complaint with the UPS Compliance Line. She subsequently also filed a report with the local police department. 

The next week, Tucker was on a scheduled vacation. While she as on vacation, UPS investigated the matter and suspended McCaleb. When McCaleb was allowed to return to work, UPS took corrective action including meeting with McCaleb, counseling him about proper behavior and relevant policies, and prohibiting him from going near Tucker. McCaleb was also convicted of battery and sentenced to 90-days in jail. Tucker reported McCaleb never talked to or touched her again. The one-time McCaleb entered her work area, she reported it and UPS addressed it. Tucker claimed she still felt unsafe at work because McCaleb also worked at the facility. However, she said she was still about to perform her job. She claimed McCaleb would stare at her as she walked in or out of work. 

private_property_sign_gate-scaledOne of the joys of owning property is dealing with potential property disputes. Such disputes can get especially complicated when they involve old surveys and records and promises from prior owners. This case illustrates the importance of doing due diligence before purchasing property so you understand which of your neighbors might have the right to use part of your property.

This lawsuit involved multiple parcels of land located in Tangiphoa Parish, Louisiana. The Arnolds had previously owned all of the property at-issue. There was a right of way and road constructed by the early 1960s, which was marked by signs. An apparent servitude is perceivable by signs or constructions such as a roadway. See La. C.C. art. 707. The Arnold family and their tenants had regularly used the route since then. 

The Aikmans, who owned some of the at-issue land, filed a lawsuit against the Naramores, who owned another parcel of land. The Aikmans claimed there was no servitude, so the Naramores could not use the road to access their property. At trial, there were over twenty witnesses, including multiple experts. The parties also presented exhibits, surveys, and maps. The trial court held the Aikmans could not interfere with the use of the passage, relying on La. C.C. art. 741, which governs the creation of servitudes. The Aikmans filed an appeal. 

ladder_step_ladder_passage-scaledStatutory employer immunity is critical in determining liability and compensation for workplace injuries in workers’ compensation. The following case is an example where the court had to decide whether the defendant was entitled to statutory employer immunity under the dual contract theory provided for in La.R.S. 23:1061(A)(2). We will examine the facts of the case, the arguments presented by both parties and the court’s decision. We will also examine the legal framework surrounding statutory employer immunity and its impact on workers’ compensation cases.

The case involves Patrick Cummins, a worker hired by a subcontractor to perform its contract with R.A.H. Homes and Construction, LLC (“R.A.H.”), the defendant. The homeowners had contracted R.A.H. to construct a single-family home, including the installation of an attic HVAC system. Cummins became seriously injured when the attic access ladder malfunctioned, and he fell while performing the work required under R.A.H.’s contract with the homeowners.

Cummins sued several defendants, including R.A.H., in tort, alleging that R.A.H. was directly responsible for the improper installation of the attic ladder that led to the accident. In response, R.A.H. asserted an affirmative defense of statutory employer immunity under La.R.S. 23:1061(A)(2), claiming that a statutory relationship existed through the two-contract theory.

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