Harold Julien v. Dynamic Industries, Inc

[B]Date Decided[/B]: Nov 3[SUP]rd[/SUP], 2010
[B]Decided By[/B]: Louisiana 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals (State)
[B]Court[/B]: Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Third Circuit
[B]Citation[/B]: 52 So.3d 174
Harold Julien (“Julien”) was employed by Dynamic Industries,Inc. (“Dynamic”) as an equipment operator at the Port of Iberia. Dynamic wasengaged in building offshore oil and gas platforms at the Port’s west yard.Julien’s primary duties entailed operating cranes and cherry pickers totransport equipment and material from the yard to a dock area to be loaded ontobarges by riggers. However, on “slow days,” Julien’s supervisor would ask him to helpriggers load the barges.
In July 2007, Julien was asked to help the riggers remove agangplank from a barge. While attaching chains to lift the gangplank, itseparated from the barge causing Julien to fall 15 feet to the ground where helanded on metal pipe. Julien was first sent to a hospital, and later toDynamic’s company doctor, Dr. Olga Reavill (“Dr. Reavill”). On the way homefrom one of his appointments with Dr. Reavill, Julien was told he was beingfired for not returning to work.
Julien retained counsel who filed a Claim for Compensationunder the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act (“LHWCA”), [I]33 U.S.C. §§ 901-944[/I]. Thereafter, Juliendischarged his original counsel and hired an attorney who filed a DisputedClaim for Compensation; seeking benefits instead under Louisiana state law.
Dynamic responded by filing a Declinatory Exception of Lackof Subject Matter Jurisdiction, arguing Julien’s claim was covered by theLHWCA. Julien filed a motion to approve his request for benefits under statelaw, and both matters came before a workers’ compensation judge (“WCJ”).
The WCJ held that Julien’s claim did not fall under theLHWCA and was appropriately brought under state law. It also awarded Juliencompensation and medical benefits under state law.
Dynamic appealed the ruling of the WCJ, and Julien answeredseeking attorney fees and costs for having to defend the appeal.
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