Third Circuit Dismisses Inmate’s Electric Shock Claim

Claimant was employed as an electrician’s helper as part of Rapides Parish’s work release program. Claimant alleged that, on September 25, 2012,  he received an electric shock, causing a heart attack.  On July 11, 2013, Claimant filed a Form 1008 against KDM Electric (Employer), seeking indemnity benefits, medical benefits, medical expenses, penalties, and attorney fees.

On December 2, 2014, the WCJ granted Employer’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed with prejudice all claims made for both medical and indemnity benefits. Claimant’s subsequent motion for a new trial was granted, with the trial held on August 4, 2016. Claimant did not attend the proceedings due to his counsel providing the wrong address of the Department of Corrections facility housing Claimant. The WCJ dismissed Claimant’s claims, finding, inter alia, that Claimant had not carried his burden of proof to show that he received an electrical shock.

On appeal, the Third Circuit affirmed the WCJ’s decision, finding that testimony by Employer’s owner, a former work release inmate who now worked for Employer, and a safety regulations expert, all contradicted Claimant’s assertion of receiving an electric shock.

Claimant also filed a companion tort suit based off the same incident. The Third Circuit affirmed the dismissal of the tort suit by the trial court, as Claimant’s counsel was found to have entered into an agreement to dismiss the case after a writ to the Louisiana Supreme Court in a factually similar case was denied. A concurring opinion affirmed the trial court’s dismissal on the grounds that the workers’ compensation court had exclusive jurisdiction.

Chimento v. KDM Electric/Rapides Parish Work Release

Chimento v. KDM Electric of Alexandria