Judge rejects reconsideration of decision regarding physical evaluation in case of injured oil worker

By John Sammon | Jun 14, 2018

NEW ORLEANS – A judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana denied a motion to reconsider a magistrate judge's decision denying a request to compel an injured oil worker to submit to a functional capacity evaluation (FCE), the ability to perform work activities.

In his May 29 ruling, U.S. District Judge Martin Heldman said an FCE would add nothing new in information to an independent medical exam (IME) already performed on oil worker Glen Guidry.

Guidry is suing Noble Drilling Services Inc., a London-owned offshore oil drilling contractor that operates oil rig platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

Guidry, a field service representative for VAM USA LLC, a supplier of connective devices for oil platforms and a subsidiary of Shell Oil Co., was injured in an accident on an oil rig platform on May 11, 2015, while inspecting a joint casing (large diameter pipe) in preparation to lower it to the ocean floor, court filings said.

He slipped on mud and sustained injuries to his back, ligaments, muscles and nervous system.

On May 4, 2016, Guidry sued Noble Drilling claiming he was injured as a result of the company’s negligence and sought relief under the Longshoremen’s and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act.

Guidry underwent a thoracic fusion surgery to attempt repair of the injuries in February 2017, court filings said. In an IME, the defendant’s doctor examined Guidry five months after the surgery and the plaintiff also underwent treatment from a physical therapist.

The defendant’s doctor had conducted an original IME on Guidry in 2012, court records said. Believing that exam sufficient to determine the plaintiff’s current physical abilities, the defendants in April 2018 moved to compel the plaintiff to submit to an FCE.

On May 17, U.S. Magistrate Judge Roby denied the motion after Guidry’s doctor said his patient was not physically able to participate in the evaluation. Guidry did agree to a second IME by the defendant’s doctor, the court noted.

The defendants then sought a reconsideration of the Roby's decision.

The Louisiana Eastern District Court upheld the decision on May 29, saying that an IME was done on Guidry less than a year ago.   

“The evidence that Guidry may be capable of completing a FCE does not establish good cause,” the court brief read. “The defendants fail to address how an FCE will provide information that the initial IME, the second IME and the physical therapist cannot.”

The motion for a review of the May 17 court decision was denied.


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