The LWC Fares Well in the Recent Decision of the First Circuit Court of Appeal

Earlier this month, the Louisiana Workforce Commission came out on top (not once, but twice), following the recent decision of the First Circuit Court of Appeal, in the Barber v. Louisiana Workforce Commission constitutionality case; the decision not only reversed the preliminary injunction granted to plaintiffs back in October 2015, but also affirmed the trial court’s finding that plaintiffs lacked standing to bring suit raising the specific constitutional issue at question.

Pursuant to the 2015 preliminary injunction, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) was enjoined from enforcing the 1009/Medical Treatment Guidelines process, which, in effect, made the Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration Medical Director no longer able to review appeals for disputed medical treatment under the Louisiana Workers’ Compensation Act.  In reversing the preliminary injunction, the First Circuit held that a preliminary injunction was “not appropriate” and in so ordering, “the trial court abused its discretion,” because, “though styled as a preliminary injunction, what the plaintiffs really seek is not to maintain the status quo but a change in the workers’ compensation system.”

With regard to the issue of standing, as stated by the Court, “to have standing, a party must complain of a constitutional defect in the application of the statute to him or herself: not of a defect in its application to third parties in hypothetical situations.” Accordingly, due to their status as attorneys and doctors who are auxiliary to injured workers, plaintiffs lacked standing to bring a suit questioning the constitutionality of the Medical Treatment Guidelines.

Barber v. Louisiana Workforce Comm’n