Sharper v New Orleans Saints (2014) H&FLR 2015-5

Darren Sharper v New Orleans Saints (2014) H&FLR 2015-5

Louisiana Court of Appeal (Fourth Circuit)

22 October 2014

Coram: Belsome, Bonin and Dysart JJ

Appearing for the Plaintiff: Frank A Bruno
Appearing for the Defendant: Christopher J Kane and Gerard J Gaudet (of Adams & Reese)

Catchwords: Louisiana – workers compensation – American Football – professional athlete – claim – payments – time limit.

Facts: The plaintiff was a professional athlete employed by the defendant between 2009 and 2011.  In the 2009-2010 football season he sustained a left knee injury in the course of play.  He underwent treatment and was re-signed by the defendant for the 2010-2011 football season.  The defendant classed him “partially unable to perform” and paid him his full salary. During that season he ultimately returned to play.  He was not resigned by the defendant following the 2010-2011 season and formally retired from professional football in November 2011.  On 14 December 2011 he submitted a claim for workers compensation.

Louisiana Revised Statute 23:1209 A (1) provides that –

In case of personal injury … all claims for payments shall be forever barred unless within one year after the accident … the parties have agreed upon the payments to be made under this Chapter, or … a formal claim has been filed.

The plaintiff’s claim was rejected by Louisiana’s Office of Workers’ Compensation on the basis that his claim was ‘prescribed’ (that is, had been lodged out of time) because it was lodged more than 12 months after the injury was sustained and the running of the time limit was not delayed by the payment of compensation payments.  The plaintiff appealed.

Held: dismissing the appeal, that although there were games in the 2010-2011 season where the plaintiff did not play, he attended practices and games and took part in meetings and rehabilitation, all of which was work he was required to perform under his contract and for which he was paid his full salary.  Accordingly the salary he was paid consisted of earned wages and not payment in lieu of compensation.

Dobler v United Fidelity & Guaranty Co, 508 So.2d 176 (La. App. 4th Cir., 1987) and Jones v New Orleans Saints, 800 So.2d 1025 (La. App. 5th Cir., 2001), considered.

Judgment

The Court’s judgement is available here.

Louisiana Sportsmen Alliance LLC v Vilsack (2014) H&FLR 2014-60

Louisiana Sportsmen Alliance LLC v Tom Vilsack and Ors (2014) H&FLR 2014-60

United States Court of Appeal (Fifth Circuit)

28 October 2014

Coram: Prado, Elrod and Graves JJ.

Appearing for the Plaintiff: Charles D Elliott (of Vilar & Elliott)*
Appearing for the Defendant: Jennifer Frederick, Courtney Joiner and Katherine Vincent (of the US Attorneys Office)*

Catchwords: Louisiana – hunting – hunting with dogs prohibited – standing to sue

Facts:  For many years the US Forest Service allowed the use of dogs in deer hunting in Kisatchie National Forest (forest).  In 2009 the Service proposed banning hunting deer with dogs, and after significant consultation the ban was adopted in 2012.

The Plaintiff – an organisation representing the interests of deer hunters using dogs – challenged the decision and issued proceedings in the US District Court.  It was asserted that the Service’s decision was arbitrary and capricious pursuant to 5 USC §§702 and 706 of the Administrative Procedures Act.  The application was dismissed: Louisiana Sportsmen Alliance LLC v Vilsack, 984 F.Supp.2d 600 (W.D. La. 2013).  The plaintiff appealed.  On appeal the defendant for the first time raised an argument that the plaintiff lacked standing to sue.

Held: Per curiam, allowing the appeal –

1.  Standing to sue is a jurisdictional requirement which cannot be waived and which may be raised by the parties or Court at any time.

NAACP v City of Kyle, Texas, 626 F.3d 233 (5th Cir., 2010) and MCG Inc v Great Western Energy Corp., 896 F.2d 170 (5th cir., 1990), followed.

2.  For an organisation to have standing to sue, it must show that –

(a) Its asserted legally protected interest is relevant to its purposes.

(b) One of its members would have standing to sue in their own right.  To satisfy this requirement, one of the organisation’s members must show that –

(i) They have suffered (or will imminently suffer) a specific identifiable invasion of a legally protected interest.
(ii) The defendant’s challenged action is fairly identifiable as the cause of the injury.
(iii) It is likely (viz., not speculative) that a favourable decision will redress the injury.

(c) Participation of individual members in the proceeding is not required.

Hunt v Washington State Apple Advertising Commission, 432 US 333 (1977) and Lujan v Defenders of Wildlife, 504 US 555 (1992), followed.

3.  The plaintiff had neither alleged nor established any details regarding its nature or purpose, nor that any of its members had suffered a specific injury.  Accordingly it had failed to establish standing and so the Court of Appeals lacked jurisdiction to consider the matter.

Judgment

The Court’s judgment is available here.

===============================

* I have not been able to confirm the involvement of these practitioners, who appeared in the matter at first instance; I have assumed that parties retained the same counsel on appeal.