The Louisiana Supreme Court reverses the 3rd circuit, stating that §1226 does NOT require a voc counselor to sign a contract with plaintiff and plaintiff attorney PRIOR to beginning actual vocational services, as was the holding in a prior 3rd Circuit decision CRAIN (Crain Brothers Inc. v. Richard, 02-1324 (La. App. 3 Cir. 4/9/03), 842 So.2d 523) and followed by 3rd circuit in this case, HARGRAVE (Hargrave v. State , 11-836 (La. App. 3 Cir. 12/21/11), 80 So.3d 1198).
In Crain and Hargrave, the contract demands from plaintiff counsel were outlined by the court:
“These conditions were as follows:
(A) That your meetings with my client be held at my office at Crowley, Louisiana.
(B) That you agree not to question my client as to any facts other than those facts necessary to provide vocational rehabilitation under LSA R.S. 23:1226.
(C) That I will be simultaneously copied on all documents sent to anyone concerning my client. This is to include correspondence, job analyses, and all appendices to your correspondence.
(D) That I will be a party to all oral conversations between you and the employer, insurer or their representative or attorney.
(E) That you will not subject my client to jobs which are inappropriate.
(F) That you will upon request provide your entire file for copying or provide a copy of your entire file without charge.
(G) That you understand that although you were selected by and are paid by my clients’ employer/insurer, you are dedicated to finding a job for my client which client can obtain and also continue to perform.
(H) That the purpose of the vocational rehabilitation you provide is for the benefit of my client, who is also your client.
(I) No other person has provided vocational rehabilitation in this case.
(J) That you or your firm has no connection, directly or indirectly, with my client’s employer or insurer or their agents, except that you were chosen and paid by the employer/insurer to provide vocational rehabilitation in this case. [Emphasis in original letter.]
The letter provided that Your setting up and appearing for the conference with my client verifies that you are in agreement with the foregoing requests that rehabilitation services will be provided in accordance thereof.’ These conditions were essentially identical to those adopted by the Third Circuit in Crain Brothers, Inc. v. Richard, 02-1342 (La. App. 3 Cir. 4/9/03), 842 So.2d 523. See Note 1, supra.
Mr. Diaz, however, apparently refused to agree to abide by the conditions in the letter.” (Elier Diaz was the vocational counselor who refused to sign the vocational rehabilitation contract).
Once voc rehab has begun, the claimant has a right to chaussures femme file a dispute IF the vocational counselor is not providing appropriate or reasonable voc rehab services, then at that time it appears the claimant and his attorney may be able to demand certain things from the rehab counselor. But the S. Ct stated that the Crain contract is not reasonable and not required by the voc rehab statute PRIOR to the voc counselor actually providing the services, and it is unreasonable to make the voc counselor sign such a contract:
“Accordingly, we conclude the hearing officer manifestly erred in determining that the conditions set forth in the letter agreement were reasonable or necessary. La. Rev. Stat. 23:1226(B)(3)(a) sets forth a procedure by which an employee may file a claim with the Office of Workers’ Compensation if a dispute arises regarding the quality of the services of the vocational counselor or the Ugg Pas Cher femme necessity for such services. As the Interiano court reasoned, there is no requirement in La. Rev. Stat. 23:1226 that a vocational rehabilitation counselor must agree to certain conditions prior to providing vocational rehabilitation services. Certainly absent any showing by the claimant that there is an actual dispute as to the provision of services or the quality thereof, requiring the counselor to abide by such conditions, even if intended as a prophylactic measure, necessarily resorts to speculation and conjecture as to the future actions of the counselor. Accordingly, the OWC hearing officer and the court of appeal erred in requiring the vocational rehabilitation counselor to agree to certain conditions prior to the performance of rehabilitation services in the absence of an evidentiary showing that there was an actual dispute as to the quality of the services of the vocational rehabilitation counselor or the necessity for such services.”