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In the News

Firm secures defense verdict in favor of Employer in SEB Dispute

The firm’s Baton Rouge attorneys secured a workers’ compensation verdict in favor of an employer regarding a dispute over entitlement to supplemental earnings benefits(SEB). The employee was a laborer who suffered shoulder and wrist injuries in a work accident. Following surgery and conservative treatment, a functional capacity evaluation released him to medium duty work. The employee advised his doctor his job was medium duty, and the doctor initially released him to “full duty” based on the employee’s own description of his position. Following an objection from his lawyer, the release was modified to reflect “medium duty,” but claimant did not return to the job. A dispute arose as to whether SEB was owed because: 1) the employee and employer disputed the exact physical requirements of the job of injury; and 2) the employee and employer disputed whether the employer was required to specifically offer the position. The issue was whether a release to the job of injury means the accident no longer prevents an employee from earning 90% of his/her pre-injury income?


The employee alleged his job of injury required strenuous lifting: despite a 60 year old 90 pound female employee being physically capable of working the position. On behalf of the employer, we argued that because the employee was released to his job of injury and chose not to return to it, he did not carry his burden of proving he was unable to earn 90% of his average weekly wage, and thus the burden never shifted to the Employer. The evidence showed that the job of injury was available and there is nothing in the law indicating an employer must formally re-offer the position.  The SEB statute does not permit a claimant to choose not work and still collect SEB.  The OWC judge entered judgment in favor of our client and the suit was dismissed with prejudice.

Court Grants Summary Judgment Finding Insurance Policy Termination Valid

The firm’s Baton Rouge attorneys secured summary judgment declaring an automobile policy did not provide coverage and was properly and timely terminated under Louisiana law. The plaintiff filed a Petition for Declaratory Judgment alleging the insurer was in bad faith for improper termination of the policy. Specifically, the plaintiff asserted the insurer had knowledge the insured was deceased and the fact the plaintiff was serving as the administratrix of the insured’s succession, utilizing the insured’s vehicle. Accordingly, the plaintiff argued the notice of non-renewal of the policy should have been sent to her address, which the insurer should have known based on their dealings with her on an unrelated property insurance claim. TWPD established the insurer properly and timely mailed notice of non-renewal to the deceased insured at the address listed on the automobile policy and had no obligation to notify the plaintiff at a different address. The plaintiff failed to provide the insurer with any succession or administrative paperwork establishing herself as the administratrix until after the automobile accident at issue. The court granted summary judgment finding the termination was valid as a matter of law and dismissed the case with prejudice. 

Dismissal Secured in Construction Defect Suit

TWPD’s Baton Rouge attorneys succeeded in having suit against a local excavating company dismissed from a construction defect suit via Exception of Peremption.   The plaintiff-homeowners filed suit against their general contractor under the Louisiana New Home Warranty Act (“the Act”) for a series of alleged construction defects.  The homeowners’ suit was filed five (5) years and twenty-seven (27) days after they took occupancy of the subject property.   While the Act has a five-year prescriptive period, it also provides homeowners an additional 30-days to file suit for any defects which the contractor had prior notice.  Thus, plaintiffs’ suit was timely.  The contractor, in turn, filed a third-party demand against multiple subcontractors, including our client.  In response to the suit, we filed an Exception of Peremption arguing that, despite the timeliness of plaintiffs’ suit, the 30-day extension in the Act did not toll the five-year preemptive period against subcontractors contained in La. R.S. 9:2772.   The contractor argued that its third-party demand was timely because La. R.S. 9:2772(A)(1)(c)  provides a 90-day grace period to file a third-party demand if the contractor is sued “within ninety days of the expiration of the five-year peremptive period. . .“  The contractor argued that “within ninety days” meant ninety days before or after the expiration of the five-year period, and that any other interpretation would mean that its claim against the subcontractors was perempted before it had ever been sued.  In response, we pointed out that prior jurisprudence had interpreted the same phrase as meaning only before the expiration of the five years, and to interpret the statute in the expansive way suggested by the contractor would have the unintended result of extending the peremptive period up to an additional 180-days.  Recognizing that under Louisiana law a preemptive period may not be renounced, interrupted, or suspended, the court granted our exception and dismissed the contractor’s third-party demand in its entirety.  

Dismissal Secured in Three Car Collision Suit

The firm’s Baton Rouge attorneys secured summary judgment in favor of our client, Performance Contractors, in Louisiana’s 18th Judicial District Court. The plaintiff was the lead vehicle in a three car collision on I-10 East before the Mississippi River bridge. An employee of Arrow Pest Control failed to see slowing traffic and crashed into the back of a vehicle driven by a Performance Contractor’s employee. That initial impact pushed the Performance truck into the rear of Plaintiff’s truck. Plaintiff sued Arrow Pest Control as the precipitating vehicle that caused the collision but also sued Performance Contractors arguing their driver contributed to the cause of the crash by following him too closely and also not stopping her vehicle timely. The investigating officer along with the drivers involved in the accident all ultimately admitted they had no evidence the Performance driver’s actions caused or contributed to the cause of the accident.  The trial judge granted summary judgment, dismissing all claims against Performance and their driver with prejudice.

The success we have seen is because of the way we built our practice. It’s about more than routine strategies. It’s about creative resolutions to difficult legal questions. It’s about how we treat our clients and each other and how we work together to build the best possible defense for every single case. It's practice, made perfect.