86 F.3d 451 (5th Cir. 1996), 95-30954, Gaar v. Quirk

Docket Nº:95-30954
Citation:86 F.3d 451
Party Name:Dr. J. Frazer GAAR, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Gerard QUIRK and Rose Quirk, Defendant-Appellants.
Case Date:June 27, 1996
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
 
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Page 451

86 F.3d 451 (5th Cir. 1996)

Dr. J. Frazer GAAR, Plaintiff-Appellee,

v.

Gerard QUIRK and Rose Quirk, Defendant-Appellants.

No. 95-30954

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

June 27, 1996

Page 452

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 453

Marc Wayne Judice, Michael W. Adley, Judice, Hill & Adley, Lafayette, LA, for J. Frazier Gaar, plaintiff-appellee.

Joseph R. Joy, III, Lafayette, LA, for defendants-appellants.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana.

Before WISDOM, DAVIS and STEWART, Circuit Judges.

WISDOM, Circuit Judge:

BACKGROUND

In 1993, the defendant/appellant, Gerard Quirk, 1 allegedly suffered an injury while working as a pipe-fitter for Seawolf Services. Quirk filed for compensation for these injuries under the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). 2 A doctor selected by Quirk and one chosen by his employer's LHWCA insurance carrier each examined Quirk and reached opposite conclusions; Quirk's doctor determined that Quirk was disabled and in need of surgery to correct his injury while the insurance carrier's physician concluded that Quirk was not a candidate for surgery, that surgery could worsen his condition, and that his condition would improve. Because of the conflicting medical opinions, the insurance carrier denied coverage for the surgery.

To resolve their dispute, Quirk and the insurance carrier then agreed to be bound by the opinion of an independent medical examiner. They choose Dr. J. Frazer Gaar, the plaintiff/appellee. After performing his examination, Gaar concluded that Quirk was not in need of surgery and was fit to return to work. Based on Gaar's medical opinion, Quirk was denied LHWCA benefits.

Quirk and his wife then filed a claim against Dr. Gaar with the Louisiana Patient's Compensation Fund, 3 alleging that Gaar's opinion constituted medical malpractice. In response, Gaar filed the instant suit in federal district court, requesting a declaratory judgment that grants him judicial immunity from Quirk's state action because of Gaar's role in the LHWCA proceeding. The district court, agreeing with Gaar that he is entitled to immunity for the opinion he rendered for the quasi-judicial LHWCA proceeding, granted Gaar the requested declaratory judgment. Quirk now appeals this decision.

JURISDICTION

Though neither party...

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