Louisiana Office of Workers Compensation Courts

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What Is The Louisiana Office Of Workers Compensation Administration?

The Louisiana Office of Workers' Compensation Administration (OWCA) is the governmental entity that administers the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act.

In other words, Louisiana Office of Workers' Compensation Administration (OWCA) essentially runs the workers compensation courts and system in Louisiana.

The Louisiana Office of Workers' Compensation Administration (OWCA):

    • Investigates allegations of fraud;
    • Monitors compliance with the requirement that employers insure their workers compensation obligation;
    • Compiles information regarding workers' compensation claims;
    • Resolves disputes over the necessity, advisability, and cost of hospital care or services, as well as conflicts concerning medical, surgical and non-medical treatment;
    • Provides Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) consultation services; and
    • Assists Louisiana employers in the development and implementation of a safety management plan in their workplace.

However, the Louisiana Office of Workers' Compensation Administration (OWCA) does not actually pay money or any other benefits to injured workers.  

Only the workers compensation insurance companies or possibly the employers actually pay for workers compensation benefits - such as lost wage benefits and medical benefits - in Louisiana.

Nonetheless, the purpose of Office of Workers' Compensation Administration rules is to govern the practice and procedures before the Workers' Compensation Court which is a statewide court having jurisdiction of claims for workers' compensation benefits, the controversion of entitlement to benefits and other relief under the Workers' Compensation Act.

These Office of Workers' Compensation Administration rules are designed to facilitate the equitable, expeditious and simple resolution of workers' compensation disputed claims filed with the Court.

Also, the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration has published the “Workers Compensation Hearing Rules,” which outline and details the procedures for disputing workers compensation claims in the OWC.

Locations of the Louisiana Office Of Workers Compensation Administration Courts

The Louisiana Office of Workers' Compensation Administration (OWCA) maintains the district offices (or workers compensation courts) that resolve disputes in Louisiana workers compensation matters.

In these district offices (or workers compensation courts), any party can file disputed claims for compensation in order to resolve disputes regarding claims for lost wage (indemnity) benefits, the entitlement to medical benefits, or other relief under the Louisiana Workers' Compensation Act.

Under Louisiana law, at least ten workers compensation judge positions are created within the OWCA.

To become a workers compensation judge, an individual must have been “licensed and actively engaged” in the practice of law in Louisiana for a minimum of five years;

Louisiana workers compensation judges:

    • Cannot engage in private practice of workers compensation law;
    • Are appointed for five-year terms;
    • Are subject to removal for cause; and
    • Are eligible for reappointment.

In Louisiana, there are ten district offices (or workers compensation courts) located throughout the state:

OWCA - Administrative

Chief Judge Vacant
Caroline Minor, Statewide Mediator
Post Office Box 94040
Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9040
Phone: (225) 342-7970
Toll-free: (800) 201-2499
Fax: (225) 342-4790
[email protected]

District 1 East (Monroe)

Judge Brenza Irving Jones
Tikisha Smith, Mediator
Vacant, DRS
1401 Hudson Lane, Suite 301
Monroe, LA 71201
Phone: (318) 362-3078
Toll-free: (800) 209-7321
Fax: (318) 362-3083
[email protected]

District 1 East serves the following Parishes: Caldwell, Catahoula, Concordia, East Carroll, Franklin, Jackson, LaSalle, Lincoln, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union, and West Carroll.

District 1 West (Shreveport)

Judge Linda Smith
Rosa Whitlock, Mediator
La Tonya Martin, DRS
9234 Linwood
Shreveport LA 71106
Phone: (318) 676-5331
Toll-Free: (800) 209-7173
Fax: (318) 676-5332
[email protected]

District 1 West serves the following Parishes: Bossier, Bienville, Caddo, Claiborne, DeSoto, Red River, and Webster.

District 2 (Alexandria)

Judge James Braddock
Amy Brown, Mediator
Brandi Mason-Iles, DRS
3724 Government Street
Alexandria, LA 71302
Phone: (318) 487-5966
Toll-Free: (800) 209-7329
Fax: (318) 767-6085
[email protected]

District 2 serves the following Parishes: Avoyelles, Evangeline, Grant, Natchitoches, Rapides, Sabine, St. Landry, Vernon, and Winn.

District 3 (Lake Charles)

Judge Charlotte Bushnell
Judge Dianne Mayo
Chantell Smith, Mediator
Deborah Garriet, DRS
120 W. Pujo Street, Suite 200
Lake Charles, LA 70601 
Phone: (337) 214-6800
Toll-free: (888) 768-8745
Fax: (337) 491-2208
[email protected]

District 3 serves the following Parishes: Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, and Jefferson Davis.

District 4 (Lafayette)

Judge Adam Johnson
Judge Vacant
Judge Anthony Palermo
Paula Murphy, Mediator
Sharon Francis, DRS
556 Jefferson Street, First Floor
Lafayette, LA 70501-6947
Phone: (337) 262-1057
Toll-free: (800) 209-7174
Fax: (337)-262-1106
[email protected]

District 4 serves the following Parishes: Acadia, Lafayette, and Vermilion.

District 5 (Baton Rouge)

Judge Pam Moses-Laramore
Judge Jason Ourso
Denise Lee, Mediator
Shameeka Kaufman, DRS
224 Florida St., Suite 100
Baton Rouge, LA 70801
Phone: (225) 219-4378
Toll-free: (800) 209-7175
Fax: (225) 219-4377
[email protected] 

District 5 serves the following Parishes: East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, West Feliciana, and West Baton Rouge.

District 6 (Covington)

Judge Myles Donahue
Vacant, Mediator
Janice Westereng, DRS
190 New Camellia Blvd, Ste. 101
Covington, Louisiana 70433-8813
Phone: (985) 792-5926
Toll-Free: (888) 575-6149
Fax: (985) 792-5925
[email protected]

District 6 serves the following Parishes: Livingston, St. Helena, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington.

District 7 (Harahan)

Judge Shannon Bishop
Vacant, Mediator
Sloane Sullen, DRS
880 West Commerce Road, Suite 401
Harahan, LA 70123-3330
Phone: (504) 736-8606
Toll-Free: (866) 253-5830
Fax: (504) 736-8608
[email protected]

District 7 serves the following Parishes: Jefferson, Plaquemines, and St. Bernard.

District 8 (New Orleans)

Judge Catrice Johnson-Reid
Judge Diane Lundeen
Kelly Sonnier, Mediator
Christine Melford, DRS
1450 Poydras Street, Suite 838
Mail Box 24
New Orleans, LA 70112-2001
Phone: (504) 568-6952
Toll-Free: (800) 209-7232
Fax: (504) 568-8706
[email protected]

District 8 serves the following Parish: Orleans.

District 9 (Houma)

Judge Elizabeth Lanier
Heather Fairchild, Mediator
Debra Duplantis, DRS
8026 Main Street, Suite 404
Houma, LA 70360-3407
Phone: (985) 857-3775
Toll-free: (800) 262-1497
Fax: (985) 857-3781
[email protected]

District 9 serves the following Parishes: Ascension, Assumption, Iberia, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. Martin, St. James, St. Mary, and Terrebonne. 

Practice and Procedure in the Louisiana Office Of Workers Compensation Administration Courts

In Louisiana, a workers compensation court claim is started with the filing of the appropriate form with the OWCA, and should contain:

    1. The names and addresses of the parties;
    2. A statement of the time, place, nature and cause of the injury, or the equivalent information to put the employer on notice with respect to the identity of the parties; and
    3. The specific compensation benefit which is due but not being paid or provided.

In Louisiana workers compensation, the injured employee is known as the “claimant” and the employer and/or the employer's workers compensation insurance company are known as the "defendants" in a workers compensation claim.

In a workers compensation court claim, the employer can be named as a defendant, but the workers compensation insurance company must be specifically named as a defendant. 

Disputed Claims for Benefits

A disputed claim for Louisiana workers compensation benefits is initiated by the filing of a LWC-WC Form 1008 "Disputed Claim for Compensation" with the Office of Workers' Compensation Administration.

The claim will then be assigned to one of the district offices, which will serve the named defendants.  

An injured employee who is a Louisiana domiciliary can select any one of the following district offices under which to pursue the dispute:

    1. The judicial district of the employee's parish of domicile at the time of injury;
    2. The judicial district of the parish where the injury occurred; or
    3. The judicial district of the parish of the employer's principal place of business.

The defendant or defendants must then file an answer to the claim within 15 days of service or within any additional time allowed by the workers compensation judge, but this additional time cannot be more than an additional 10 days.

Claims for Treatment Under the Medical Guideline Schedule

Additional deadlines and procedures exist for authorization and appeal of requested medical treatment under the Louisiana's Medical Guideline Schedule.

Louisiana's Medical Treatment Guidelines are the rules which the OWC Medical Director uses to decide whether or not proposed medical treatment should be authorized.

A copy of the Medical Treatment Guidelines are available here.

Louisiana's "Utilization Review" rules provide appropriate procedures to be followed when an injured employee seeks approval from the workers compensation insurance company to begin or continue treatment beyond the limit of $750.

The basic typical Utilization Review process in a nutshell is as follows: 

    • The medical provider requests authorization for treatment from the workers compensation insurance company, and the insurance company must notify the medical provider within 5 business days of receipt of the request of the action taken on it.
    • If the request is denied, “any aggrieved party” must file, within 15 calendar days, an appeal by filing a LWC-WC 1009 “Disputed Claim for Medical Treatment” appeal with the OWCA medical director, who then renders a decision “as soon as is practicable” but in no event more than 30 days from the filing of the appeal. 
    • After the issuance of the OWCA medical director's decision, “any party who disagrees” with the decision may then appeal by filing a ‘Disputed Claim for Compensation' Form 1008 within 15 days after the mailing of the decision of the medical director.
    • This filing of the Form 1008 begins the ordinary legal process for other workers' compensation claims.
    • A workers' compensation judge then considers the decision by the medical director and may reverse it “when it is shown, by clear and convincing evidence” that the decision of the medical director “was not in accordance with the provisions of this Section.”

Unfortunately, this process unfolds very frequently, because the workers compensation insurance companies regularly and routinely ignore or deny requests for medical treatment and testing.

Initial Telephone Conferences

Typically, a telephone conference are set within 15 days from the date on which the defendant files its answer.

In this telephone conference, the OWC court will select certain deadlines for the claim.

For example: 

    1. A preliminary determination hearing shall be set within 90 days from telephone status conference.
    2. The deadline for any discovery shall be 30 days before the preliminary determination hearing.
    3. The parties must exchange evidence 15 days before the hearing, with copies of the exhibits, exhibit list and memorandum sent to the presiding workers' compensation judge.

A scheduling conference order shall be forwarded to the parties within three days of the telephone status conference.

The order shall include:

    1. A list of issues to be determined;
    2. The date of the scheduled hearing;
    3. The deadline for discovery;
    4. The deadline for the exchange of exhibits;
    5. The deadline for the submission of exhibits; and
    6. The deadline for the submission of memoranda to the court.

Mediation Conferences

Once a Disputed Claim for Compensation" with the Office of Workers Compensation Administration is filed, the claim will be assigned to a workers compensation mediator.

Mediations are conducted by mediators, who are employees of the Office of Workers Compensation. 

All mediations are voluntary to attend, and neither party needs to settle a dispute at a mediation.

Basically, the entire mediation process is a voluntary attempt to settle the disputes between the parties, before moving on to the actual litigation.

Discovery 

Prior to a hearing with an OWC Judge, the parties are permitted to ask questions and obtain information from each other in a process known as discovery.

Full discovery in permitted Louisiana workers compensation claims, which includes:

    1. The taking of depositions;
    2. The propounding of Interrogatories, Requests for Production of Documents, and Requests for Admission; and
    3. The issuance of subpoenas from the OWC.

OWC Hearings

Following the discovery process, the workers compensation Judge presides over a hearing and renders a decision. 

Usually, the only witnesses to testify live and in person at the trial are:

    1. The claimant;
    2. A representative of the employer;
    3. A representative of the insurance company;
    4. Any fact witnesses; and
    5. Any impeachment witnesses.

Typically, instead of appearing live at the trial, testimony from physicians or other experts is by deposition, which means that they give a deposition and the Judge simply reads what they have said in the deposition transcript.

The record is typically is closed at the end of the trial, though the workers compensation Judges usually allow for post-trial memoranda (or written argument) to be considered.

At the conclusion of the trial, but usually only after considering the post-trial memoranda, the workers compensation Judge will render an order, decision, or award as is proper, and the OWC will serve a copy of the order, decision, or award on each party by certified mail.

Appeals of OWC Court Decisions

After the workers compensation Judge renders an order, decision, or award, either party, either dissatisfied party may appeal to the proper circuit court of appeal for that judicial district.

The party wishing to appeal must file a motion for an order of appeal with the OWC district office, which will then prepare the record for the appellate court.

Also, an employer who appeals a decision must secure a bond.

The appeal is taken on the record - which means that no additional evidence may be submitted - and the case is reviewed using a "manifest error - clearly wrong" standard of review.

Last, an appeal from the circuit court of appeal is heard by the Louisiana Supreme Court. 

The Louisiana Statutes for the Louisiana Office Of Workers Compensation Administration Courts

The primary Louisiana statutes regarding the Louisiana Office Of Workers Compensation Administration Courts are La. R.S. 23:1310.1, La. R.S. 23:1310.3, La. R.S. 23:1310.4, La. R.S. 23:1310.5, La. R.S. 23:1310.7, and La. R.S. 23:1310.8, which read as follows:

§1310.1. Workers' compensation judges; creation; tenure; qualification; presiding officer; rules and regulations; hearings; assistant secretary

A. There is hereby created workers' compensation judge positions comprised of at least ten judges within the office of workers' compensation administration.

B. A workers' compensation judge, or ad hoc officer presiding over a workers' compensation adjudicatory hearing, shall have been licensed and actively engaged in the practice of the law in the state for not less than five years, and following employment as a workers' compensation judge shall not practice workers' compensation law while so employed. Any temporary ad hoc officers appointed or designated by the commission to preside over a workers' compensation adjudicatory hearing shall meet the same eligibility requirements and shall comply with the same provisions of civil service for appointment, retention, or reappointment as are required for workers' compensation judges authorized under this Section.

C. The assistant secretary shall have the authority to adopt reasonable rules and regulations, including the rules of procedure before the workers' compensation judges, according to the procedures established by the Administrative Procedure Act. All rules and regulations, properly approved and promulgated under the Administrative Procedure Act, shall be consistent with the Workers' Compensation Law and shall be binding in the administration of that law.

D. A workers' compensation judge shall be appointed by the assistant secretary of the office of worker's compensation in accordance with all applicable civil service laws, rules, and regulations for a five-year term. He shall be subject to removal by the secretary during his term of employment for cause. A workers' compensation judge may be appointed for additional terms of five years but must reapply in the same manner as new applicants.

Acts 1983, 1st Ex. Sess., No. 1, §1, eff. July 1, 1983; Acts 1985, No. 926, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1986; Acts 1988, No. 938, §1, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 23, §1, eff. June 15, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 43, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1991, No. 849, §1; Acts 1991, No. 892, §1; Acts 1995, No. 348, §1, eff. June 16, 1995; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 1999, No. 78, §1; Acts 2001, No. 1014, §1, eff. June 27, 2001.

{{NOTE: ACTS 1991, NO. 849, §2 PROVIDED THAT R.S. 23:1310.1(D) SHALL NOT BE APPLICABLE TO ANY ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING OFFICER APPOINTED PRIOR TO SEPTEMBER 6, 1991.}}

§1310.3. Initiation of claims; voluntary mediation; procedure

A. A claim for benefits, the controversion of entitlement to benefits, or other relief under the Workers' Compensation Act shall be initiated by the filing of the appropriate form with the office of workers' compensation administration. Mailing, facsimile transmission, or electronic transmission of the form and payment of the filing fee within five days of any such mailing or transmission constitutes the initiation of a claim under R.S. 23:1209.

B. Upon receipt of the form, the assistant secretary shall assign the matter to a district. Upon receipt of the form, a district office shall effect service of process on any named defendant in any manner provided by law or by certified mail. All subsequent pleadings requiring service shall also be served in any manner provided by law or by certified mail. A defendant shall file an answer within fifteen days of service of the form or within a delay for answering granted by the workers' compensation judge not to exceed an additional ten days.

C. The filing of the answer shall be deemed timely when the answer is mailed, transmitted by facsimile, or electronic transmission on or before the day on which said delays run. If the answer is received by mail, facsimile, or electronic transmission on or before the first legal day following the expiration of the due date, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that the answer was timely filed. In all cases where the presumption does not apply, the timeliness of the mailing or transmittal shall be shown by an official United States postmark, official receipt of certificate from the United States Postal Service, facsimile transmission confirmation, or electronic receipt confirmation made at the time of transmission which indicates the date thereof.

D.(1) Upon joint request of the parties, or upon order of the presiding workers' compensation judge, all parties shall engage the services of either of the following:

(a) A Louisiana Workforce Commission, office of workers' compensation administration mediator, and such mediation shall be held in the district office in which the selected mediator is assigned.

(b) A private mediator, and such mediation shall be held at a location mutually agreeable to the parties.

(2) The selection of the mediator shall be by mutual agreement of the parties.

(3) Each party shall provide a representative, in person or via telephone, to participate in the mediation conference, who has been provided with authority to enter into negotiations in a good faith effort to resolve the issue in dispute. The attorneys for the parties may participate in the mediation conference via telephone by mutual consent of the parties.

(4) Within five days of the conclusion of the mediation conference, the parties shall certify to the court, via United States mail, electronic transmission, or facsimile transmission, that a mediation conference has occurred and the results thereof.

(5) Nothing shall prohibit the parties from requesting a mediation conference prior to the filing of a disputed claim for compensation; however, neither the request nor participation in the mediation conference shall interrupt the running of prescription.

E. If any party fails to appear at a mediation conference ordered by the judge or requested by the parties after proper notice, the workers' compensation judge upon request of a party may fine the delinquent party an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars, which shall be payable to the Office of Workers' Compensation Administrative Fund. In addition, the workers' compensation judge may assess against the party failing to attend costs and reasonable attorney fees incurred by any other party in connection with the conference. The penalties provided for in this Subsection shall be assessed by the workers' compensation judge only after a contradictory hearing which shall be held prior to the hearing on the merits of the dispute.

F. Except as otherwise provided by R.S. 23:1101(B), 1361, and 1378(E), the workers' compensation judge shall be vested with original, exclusive jurisdiction over all claims or disputes arising out of this Chapter, including but not limited to workers' compensation insurance coverage disputes, group self-insurance indemnity contract disputes, employer demands for recovery for overpayment of benefits, the determination and recognition of employer credits as provided for in this Chapter, and cross-claims between employers or workers' compensation insurers or self-insurance group funds for indemnification or contribution, concursus proceedings pursuant to Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Articles 4651 et seq. concerning entitlement to workers' compensation benefits, payment for medical treatment, or attorney fees arising out of an injury subject to this Chapter.

G.(1) Any party challenging the constitutionality of any provision of this Chapter shall specially plead such an allegation in the original petition, an exception, written motion, or answer, which shall state with particularity the grounds for such an allegation.

(2) Within thirty days of the filing of any pleading raising the issue of unconstitutionality, the party making such an allegation must file a petition in a state district court of proper jurisdiction for purposes of adjudicating the claim of unconstitutionality. Such filing shall be given priority in hearing such claim not more than ten days from being presented to the district court.

(3) Failure to follow the procedures set forth in this Section shall bar any claim as to the unconstitutionality of any provision of this Chapter on appeal.

Acts 1988, No. 938, §2, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 26, §1; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1991, No. 892, §1; Acts 1992, No. 760, §1; Acts 1995, No. 348, §1, eff. June 16, 1995; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 1997, No. 94, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 2001, No. 1084, §1; Acts 2004, No. 341, §1, eff. June 18, 2004; Acts 2005, No. 257, §1; Acts 2006, No. 48, §1, eff. May 16, 2006; Acts 2010, No. 53, §1; Acts 2018, No. 612, §7, eff. July 1, 2020; Acts 2018, 2nd E.S., No. 12, §1, eff. June 12, 2018.

§1310.4. Place hearings to be held

A.(1) At the time a claim is initiated with the assistant secretary, the claimant shall elect the situs of necessary hearings by the workers' compensation judge.

(2) If the claimant is a domiciliary of the state of Louisiana, he shall be required to elect either the judicial district of the parish of his domicile at the time he sustained his injury, the judicial district of the parish where the injury occurred, or the judicial district of the parish of the principal place of business of the employer.

(3) In the event that the claimant is not a domiciliary of the state of Louisiana, the necessary hearings shall be held in the judicial district of the parish of the principal place of business of the employer, provided, that if the injury occurred within the state, the hearings shall be held in the judicial district of the parish where the injury occurred.

(4) In the event the claimant is not a domiciliary of the state of Louisiana and the accident resulting in injury occurred outside the territorial limits of the state, the hearings shall be held in the judicial district of the parish in this state wherein the contract of employment was made or in which the employment was principally localized.

B. After the election has been made as provided above, all future hearings affecting the claimant's case shall be held in the workers' compensation district so designated unless the workers' compensation judge, upon agreement by the claimant and the employer, shall transfer such cause for hearing to any other workers' compensation district agreed upon. In addition, hearings may be held in any workers' compensation district if the workers' compensation judge determines that good cause has been shown.

Acts 1988, No. 938, §2, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1991, No. 892, §1; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 2004, No. 341, §1, eff. June 18, 2004.

§1310.5. Hearing and appellate procedures; reported opinions

A.(1) Insofar as may be possible, all the evidence pertaining to each case, except as to noncontested matters, shall be heard by the workers' compensation judge initially assigned to the case. Upon the completion of such hearing or hearings, the workers' compensation judge shall make such order, decision, or award as is proper, just, and equitable in the matter.

(2) Either party feeling aggrieved by such order, decision, or award shall, after receipt by certified mail of the order, decision, or award, have the right to take an appeal to the circuit court of appeal for the judicial district elected by the claimant upon the filing of the petition. The motion and order for appeal shall be filed with the district office assigned to handle the claim, which shall be responsible for preparation of the record for the appellate court.

B. The decision of the workers' compensation judge shall be final unless an appeal is made to the appropriate circuit court of appeal. An appeal which suspends the effect or execution of an appealable judgment or order must be filed within thirty days. An appeal which does not suspend the effect or execution of an appealable judgment or order must be filed within sixty days. The delay for filing an appeal commences to run on the day after the judgment was signed or on the day after the district office has mailed the notice of judgment as required by Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 1913, whichever is later. Motions for new trial shall be entertained in disputes filed under this Chapter. The delay for filing an appeal when a motion for new trial has been filed shall be governed by the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure.

C. When there has been an award of benefits by the workers' compensation judge, no appeal by an employer shall be entertained by the appellate court unless the employer secures a bond with one or more sureties to be approved by the workers' compensation judge, guaranteeing that the employer will pay the amount of the award rendered therein together with interest thereon as otherwise provided by law, and all costs of the proceeding. The time limits for perfecting the bond shall be as provided in the Code of Civil Procedure, but shall not commence to run against the appellant until the appellant is notified by the workers' compensation judge as to the amount of the bond fixed in accordance with law.

D. When the only controverted issue in a death claim is the determination of proper beneficiaries entitled to receive death benefits, and the competing beneficiaries appeal the decision of the workers' compensation judge, the employer or insurance carrier may pay the proceeds, as they accrue, to the assistant secretary. The assistant secretary shall hold the proceeds in trust in an interest-bearing account during the appellate period and shall distribute the proceeds and interest to the beneficiaries designated in final award or judgment. The employer or insurance carrier shall not be taxed interest or cost on the order of the death claim if payments have been made to the assistant secretary as they accrue.

E.(1) An order for physical therapy or a work hardening program shall not be suspended during the pendency of any appeal.

(2) Regardless of whether the judgment rendered by the workers' compensation judge is in favor of the employer or the employee, when the workers' compensation judge has made a specific finding that further delay for surgery would, more likely than not, result in death, permanent disability, or irreparable injury to the claimant, any appeal of the judgment shall be entitled to preference and priority and handled on an expedited basis. In such cases, the record shall be prepared and filed within fifteen days of the granting of the order of appeal. The court of appeal shall hear the case within thirty days after the filing of the appellee's brief.

F. All workers' compensation decisions of the circuit courts of appeal shall be published opinions. The published opinions in any reporter shall identify the office of workers' compensation district from which the appeal was taken and the identity of the workers' compensation judge who rendered the judgment or award that is the subject of appeal.

Acts 1988, No. 938, §2, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 26, §1; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1989, No. 454, §9, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1995, No. 246, §1, eff. June 14, 1995; Acts 1995, No. 348, §1, eff. June 16, 1995; Acts 1995, No. 396, §1; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 2001, No. 361, §1; Acts 2001, No. 593, §1; Acts 2003, No. 485, §1; Acts 2003, No. 709, §1.

§1310.7. Orders; subpoenas; judgments; enforcement; contempt

A. A workers' compensation judge shall have the power to enforce any order or judgment he shall deem proper which is issued pursuant to the powers and jurisdiction provided for in this Chapter and the Constitution of Louisiana. This power shall not include the authority to order a person confined.

B.(1) Direct contempt in a workers' compensation proceeding shall be as defined in Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 222, except that it shall be committed before or in response to a subpoena or summons of a workers' compensation judge instead of the court. In a case of direct contempt, the workers' compensation judge may assess a civil fine of up to five hundred dollars for each such contempt violation which shall be payable to the Kids Chance Scholarship Fund, Louisiana Bar Foundation.

(2) Constructive contempt in a workers' compensation proceeding shall be as defined in Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 224, except that it shall be concerning the workers' compensation judge and hearing procedures instead of the court. In a case of constructive contempt, the workers' compensation judge may assess a civil fine of up to five hundred dollars for each such contempt violation which shall be payable to the Kids Chance Scholarship Fund, Louisiana Bar Foundation.

(3) In any case where the workers' compensation judge has found a party in direct or constructive contempt, or has imposed sanctions on a party for conduct in connection with the litigation of a claim, the workers' compensation judge shall issue written reasons in connection with said ruling and shall report such findings to the assistantsecretary on a form promulgated by the assistant secretary, within thirty days of the ruling.

C. Workers' compensation judges shall have the authority to issue subpoenas and subpoenas duces tecum as provided in Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Articles 1351 through 1354. Subpoenas issued pursuant to this Section may be served by certified mail, return receipt requested.

D. Nothing in this Section shall be construed to limit the power of the workers' compensation judge to encourage compliance with and enforcement of his orders by means other than referral to the district courts for contempt proceedings.

Acts 1988, No. 938, §2, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1992, No. 762, §1; Acts 1993, No. 884, §1; Acts 1995, No. 348, §1, eff. June 16, 1995; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 2005, No. 257, §1.

§1310.8. Jurisdiction continuing; determining as to final settlement

A.(1) The power and jurisdiction of the workers' compensation judge over each case shall be continuing and he may, upon application by a party and after a contradictory hearing, make such modifications or changes with respect to former findings or orders relating thereto if, in his opinion, it may be justified, including the right to require physical examinations as provided for in R.S. 23:1123; however, upon petition filed by the employer or insurance carrier and the injured employee or other person entitled to compensation under the Workers' Compensation Act, a workers' compensation judge shall have jurisdiction to consider the proposition of whether or not a final settlement may be had between the parties presenting such petition, subject to the provisions of law relating to settlements in workers' compensation cases.

(2) The workers' compensation judge may have a full hearing on the petition, and take testimony of physicians and others relating to the permanency or probable permanency of the injury, and take such other testimony relevant to the subject matter of such petition as the workers' compensation judge may require. The workers' compensation judge may consider such petition and dismiss the same without a hearing if in his judgment the same shall not be set for a hearing.

(3) The expenses of such hearing or investigation, including necessary medical examinations, shall be paid by the employer or insurance carrier, and such expenses may be included in the final award. If the workers' compensation judge decides it is in the best interest of both parties to said petition that a final award be made, a decision shall be rendered accordingly and the workers' compensation judge may make an award that shall be final as to the rights of all parties to said petition and thereafter the workers' compensation judge shall have no jurisdiction over any claim for the injury or any results arising from same. If the workers' compensation judge should decide the case should not be finally settled at the time of the hearing, the petition shall be dismissed without prejudice to either party, and the workers' compensation judge shall have the same jurisdiction over the matter as if said petition had not been filed.

B. Upon the motion of any party in interest, on the ground of a change in conditions, the workers' compensation judge may, after a contradictory hearing, review any award, and, on such review, may make an award ending, diminishing, or increasing the compensation previously awarded, subject to the maximum or minimum provided in the Workers' Compensation Act, and shall state his conclusions of fact and rulings of law, and the assistant secretary shall immediately send to the parties a copy of the award.

C. This Section shall not apply to the calculation of the monthly benefit amount pursuant to R.S. 23:1221(3).

D. A petition to modify a judgment awarding benefits shall be subject to the prescriptive limitations established in R.S. 23:1209.

E. A judgment denying benefits is res judicata after the claimant has exhausted his rights of appeal.

F. An award of temporary total disability benefits may be modified by the filing of a motion for modification with the same court that awarded the benefits and under the same caption and docket number without the necessity of filing a new dispute and appearing at a mediation conference. The court shall expedite the hearing on the modification proceedings in accordance with the procedure established in R.S. 23:1124(B).

Acts 1988, No. 938, §2, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1989, No. 454, §9, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 1999, No. 323, §1; Acts 2001, No. 1189, §1, eff. June 29, 2001; Acts 2013, No. 337, §1.

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