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      RS 23:1310.5     


§1310.5. Hearing and appellate procedures; reported opinions

            A.(1) Insofar as may be possible, all the evidence pertaining to each case, except as to noncontested matters, shall be heard by the workers' compensation judge initially assigned to the case. Upon the completion of such hearing or hearings, the workers' compensation judge shall make such order, decision, or award as is proper, just, and equitable in the matter.

            (2) Either party feeling aggrieved by such order, decision, or award shall, after receipt by certified mail of the order, decision, or award, have the right to take an appeal to the circuit court of appeal for the judicial district elected by the claimant upon the filing of the petition. The motion and order for appeal shall be filed with the district office assigned to handle the claim, which shall be responsible for preparation of the record for the appellate court.

            B. The decision of the workers' compensation judge shall be final unless an appeal is made to the appropriate circuit court of appeal. An appeal which suspends the effect or execution of an appealable judgment or order must be filed within thirty days. An appeal which does not suspend the effect or execution of an appealable judgment or order must be filed within sixty days. The delay for filing an appeal commences to run on the day after the judgment was signed or on the day after the district office has mailed the notice of judgment as required by Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 1913, whichever is later. Motions for new trial shall be entertained in disputes filed under this Chapter. The delay for filing an appeal when a motion for new trial has been filed shall be governed by the Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure.

            C. When there has been an award of benefits by the workers' compensation judge, no appeal by an employer shall be entertained by the appellate court unless the employer secures a bond with one or more sureties to be approved by the workers' compensation judge, guaranteeing that the employer will pay the amount of the award rendered therein together with interest thereon as otherwise provided by law, and all costs of the proceeding. The time limits for perfecting the bond shall be as provided in the Code of Civil Procedure, but shall not commence to run against the appellant until the appellant is notified by the workers' compensation judge as to the amount of the bond fixed in accordance with law.

            D. When the only controverted issue in a death claim is the determination of proper beneficiaries entitled to receive death benefits, and the competing beneficiaries appeal the decision of the workers' compensation judge, the employer or insurance carrier may pay the proceeds, as they accrue, to the assistant secretary. The assistant secretary shall hold the proceeds in trust in an interest-bearing account during the appellate period and shall distribute the proceeds and interest to the beneficiaries designated in final award or judgment. The employer or insurance carrier shall not be taxed interest or cost on the order of the death claim if payments have been made to the assistant secretary as they accrue.

            E.(1) An order for physical therapy or a work hardening program shall not be suspended during the pendency of any appeal.

            (2) Regardless of whether the judgment rendered by the workers' compensation judge is in favor of the employer or the employee, when the workers' compensation judge has made a specific finding that further delay for surgery would, more likely than not, result in death, permanent disability, or irreparable injury to the claimant, any appeal of the judgment shall be entitled to preference and priority and handled on an expedited basis. In such cases, the record shall be prepared and filed within fifteen days of the granting of the order of appeal. The court of appeal shall hear the case within thirty days after the filing of the appellee's brief.

            F. All workers' compensation decisions of the circuit courts of appeal shall be published opinions. The published opinions in any reporter shall identify the office of workers' compensation district from which the appeal was taken and the identity of the workers' compensation judge who rendered the judgment or award that is the subject of appeal.

            Acts 1988, No. 938, §2, eff. July 1, 1989; Acts 1989, No. 26, §1; Acts 1989, No. 260, §1, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1989, No. 454, §9, eff. Jan. 1, 1990; Acts 1995, No. 246, §1, eff. June 14, 1995; Acts 1995, No. 348, §1, eff. June 16, 1995; Acts 1995, No. 396, §1; Acts 1997, No. 88, §1, eff. June 11, 1997; Acts 2001, No. 361, §1; Acts 2001, No. 593, §1; Acts 2003, No. 485, §1; Acts 2003, No. 709, §1.

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