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DECISIONS n WORKERS’ COMPENSATION vocational rehabilitation counselors do not enjoy the same tort immunity under Louisiana’s Workers’ Compensation Act as employers do, the Louisiana Supreme Court said on April 9. Brown v. Adair, No. 02-C-2028. After an employee settled his compensation claim with his employer, the employer’s insurer contracted with a vocational rehabilitation firm to provide services to the employee. A counselor met with the employer before preparing a job analysis. Two of the employee’s treating physicians reviewed the analysis and signed it, stating that it fell within the employee’s physical capabilities. The firm forwarded the analysis to the employer’s insurer without the employer’s approval. An adjuster then told the employee that his treating physicians had released him to return to work. When he claimed he could not because of his condition, his benefits were terminated. In a tort action against the vocational rehabilitation firm alleging “sham rehabilitation,” the trial court found that vocational rehabilitation counselors enjoy the same tort immunity as employers under the Workers’ Compensation Act. An intermediate appellate court affirmed. Reversing, Louisiana’s highest court explained that the Workers’ Compensation Act statute, La. Rev. Stat. 23:1032, states that it is the exclusive remedy of claims against an employer and those who may stand in the employers’ shoes. Because no mention is made of vocational rehabilitation counselors, the court concluded that they are not covered by the provision and remain subject to suit.

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