WAL-MART STORES, INC.
Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit
June 1, 2005
APPEAL FROM THE OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION - DISTRICT 3 PARISH OF CALCASIEU, NO. 04-02411 CHARLOTTE A. L. BUSHNELL, WORKERS' COMPENSATION JUDGE
Randall Scott Iles Attorney at Law Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellee: April Glaze
Charles Martin Kreamer, Sr. Allen & Gooch Counsel for Defendant/Appellant: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Court composed of Glenn B. Gremillion, Billy Howard Ezell, and James T. Genovese, Judges.
BILLY HOWARD EZELL JUDGE
In this workers' compensation matter, the Defendant, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart) appeals the decision of the workers' compensation judge granting a motion for summary judgment in favor of its employee, April Glaze. Ms. Glaze answers the appeal, seeking an increase in attorney fees and additional attorney fees for work done on this appeal. For the following reasons, we affirm the decision of the workers' compensation judge as amended.
Ms. Glaze claims she injured her back and neck on December 11,2003, while in the course and scope of her employment at Wal-Mart, lifting a battery and straightening shelves. Wal-Mart voluntarily began paying her workers' compensation disability benefits almost immediately. After over three months of these payments, Ms. Glaze filed this claim seeking to change her physician and alleging that her benefits were being underpaid by $26.65 per week. She also sought penalties and attorney fees for the underpayment. Although Wal-Mart disputed several of Ms. Glaze's claims, they approved the change of doctor and corrected her disability benefit rate. Wal-Mart also paid Ms. Glaze what she was owed in back-due benefits for the underpayment before this claim was brought. Ms. Glaze then filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of attorney fees.
The workers' compensation judge granted the motion for summary judgment because Wal-Mart admitted to underpaying the indemnity benefits and awarded Ms. Glaze $2,000.00 in penalties and $3,000.00 in attorney fees. From this decision, Wal-Mart appeals.
On appeal, Wal-Mart asserts as its lone assignment of error that the workers' compensation judge erred in granting the summary judgment, as they claim there were still facts in dispute that needed to be decided at a trial. Ms. Glaze also appeals, seeking an increase in attorney fees for work done on this...