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Ex-NFL player’s comp claim must be revisited: Appeals court

New Orleans Saints

A Louisiana appellate court has partially reversed a workers compensation judge’s ruling in favor of the New Orleans Saints in a case brought by an injured former football player.

The Court of Appeal of Louisiana on Wednesday determined a comp judge improperly dismissed a claim brought by Mitchell Loewen, who played for the Saints between 2016 and 2020.

Mr. Loewen filed his claim in October 2020 seeking disability status, medical treatment, penalties and attorneys fees based on a September 2017 ankle injury.

He also sought wage benefits, disability status and medical treatment based on a prior knee injury, and later filed an amended claim based on a 2019 ankle re-injury.

A comp judge found Mr. Loewen suffered work-related injuries, but that he failed to meet his burden proving permanent disablement. The judge dismissed the case with prejudice.

On appeal, Mr. Loewen presented various arguments, including that he should have been entitled to supplemental earnings benefits for the wage-earning capacity he lost due to the injuries.  

The appellate court ruled against Mr. Loewen, determining he failed to show his injuries caused an inability to earn 90% of his prior wages.

The court sided with Mr. Loewen on the dispute over permanent partial disability benefits, ruling that the comp judge improperly addressed the issue of temporary total disability benefits instead.

The appeals court remanded the case to the comp judge to rule on whether Mr. Loewen is entitled to a claim for permanent partial disability benefits.