Claimant and Employer entered into a settlement agreement for Claimant’s workers’ compensation claim. The documents submitted suggested that Claimant would receive $5,381.00 on both a monthly basis, whereas other documents submitted indicate that Claimant would receive $5,381.00 on a yearly basis. Claimant submitted a Disputed Claim for Compensation alleging that he was not receiving his monthly payments. The Office of Workers’ Compensation found that “monthly” was a typographical error, and issued an amended Order substituting “monthly” with “annually”. The Office of Workers’ Compensation also voided the annuity agreement set up to pay Claimant’s settlement funds and relieved Employer from further obligation to pay Claimant. This was based upon willfully false statements made by Claimant for the purpose of obtaining additional benefits. Claimant appealed this judgment.
The appellate court found that the documentary evidence in the record supported issuance of an amended order substituting “monthly” with “annually”. The court next examined the issue of whether Claimant committed fraud. Claimant testified that he had made a “side” agreement for monthly payments in addition to yearly payments. The Office of Workers’ Compensation found Claimant’s testimony entirely unbelievable and failing to contain any element of truth. The Office of Workers’ Compensation was convinced that Claimant fabricated the story about an additional “side” settlement for the purpose of obtaining additional benefits. The appellate court upheld the ruling, determining that Claimant’s misrepresentations constituted fraud and that workers’ compensation benefits were forfeited.
Shropshire v. Anco Installation, No. 14-CA-902, 2014 WL 7278253 (La. App. 1st. Cir. 12/23/14)