Fortune v. Gulf Coast Tree Care Inc.

Decision Date13 October 2014
Docket NumberNo. 1D13–5580.,1D13–5580.
Citation148 So.3d 827
PartiesPhillip A. FORTUNE, Appellant, v. GULF COAST TREE CARE INC. /Florida Citrus Business and Industries, Appellees.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

J. Craig Delesie, Jr., of Kadyk & Delesie, P.A., Riverview, for Appellant.

Hinda Klein and Thomas G. Regnier of Conroy, Simberg, Ganon, Krevans, Abel, Lurvey, Morrow & Schefer, P.A., Hollywood, for Appellees.



In this workers' compensation case, Claimant argues that the Judge of Compensation Claims (JCC) erred in denying his claim for reimbursement of medical expenses, mileage, and co-payments incurred for treatment received following his May 19, 2011, accident. We agree and reverse the JCC's denial of those reimbursements.

The relevant facts are not in dispute. Claimant suffered a dislocated shoulder

after an assault by an angry bicyclist (a dentist), who rode up and punched Appellant as he was sitting in his vehicle preparing to enter a gated community to deliver an estimate to a customer. Claimant received emergency treatment the day of the accident at Brandon Regional Hospital, where his shoulder was placed back into proper alignment, and he was advised to seek follow-up care. Even though Claimant's supervisor was immediately notified of the incident, came to the scene of the incident, and followed Claimant to the hospital, a notice of injury was not completed at that time.

Thereafter, Claimant received follow-up care at a Veterans Administration facility beginning approximately eleven days after the incident and culminating in an attempted surgical repair about two months later. During this relevant time period, Claimant and the Employer maintained their working relationship.

The Carrier first received notice of the injury in September 2012, some sixteen months after the incident. Upon receiving notice of the accident, the Carrier denied compensability of the injuries.

Following a merits hearing, the JCC found Claimant was an employee of Gulf Coast Tree Care, Inc., and that he was in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident. The JCC required the Employer/Carrier (E/C) to reimburse the emergency treatment provided to Claimant on the date of the accident and also required the E/C to provide Claimant with future medical treatment. The JCC denied, however, reimbursement for the follow-up treatment in the time period immediately following the accident. The JCC did so because Claimant failed to request this medical care, or any medical care, from either the Employer or the Carrier.

When the facts are not in dispute, the application of law to those facts is reviewed de novo. See Airey v. Wal–Mart, 24 So.3d 1264, 1265 (Fla. 1st DCA 2009) (noting that when [t]he pertinent facts are undisputed ... the issue is one purely of law, subject to de novo review”). To the extent resolution of an issue requires statutory interpretation, review is de novo. See Lombardi v. S. Wine & Spirits, 890 So.2d 1128, 1129 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004) (holding statutory interpretation is subject to de novo review). In construing a statute, courts must first look to its plain language. See Perez v. Rooms To Go, 997 So.2d 511, 512 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008). “A basic tenet of statutory interpretation is that a statute should be interpreted to give effect to every clause in it, and to accord meaning and harmony to all of its parts.’ Jones v. ETS of New Orleans, Inc., 793 So.2d 912, 914–15 (Fla.2001) (citing Acosta v. Richter, 671 So.2d 149, 153–54 (Fla.1996) ). Here, the relevant section is 440.13(2)(c), Florida Statutes (2010):

If the employer fails to provide initial treatment or care required by this section after request by the injured employee, the employee may obtain such initial treatment at the expense of the employer, if the initial treatment or care is compensable and medically necessary and is in accordance with established practice parameters and protocols of treatment as provided for in this chapter. There must be a specific request for the initial treatment or care, and the employer or carrier must be given a reasonable time period within which to

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7 cases
  • Davis v. Sheridan Healthcare, Inc., Case Nos. 2D17-829
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 16 octobre 2019 care provider, as asserted by the majority, but can also include compensating a claimant. See, e.g., Fortune v. Gulf Coast Tree Care, Inc., 148 So. 3d 827 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014).8 Ms. Davis does not distinguish between her FCCPA claims so as to argue that her section 559.72(5) claim may......
  • Freeman v. Am. Integrity Ins. Co. of Fla.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 11 décembre 2015
    ...interpretation, as well as to a trial court's interpretation of an insurance policy provision. See Fortune v. Gulf Coast Tree Care Inc., 148 So.3d 827, 828 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014) ; Citizens Prop. Ins. Corp. v. Ashe, 50 So.3d 645, 650 (Fla. 1st DCA 2010).The parties dispute whether FVPL applies......
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    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 30 novembre 2020
    ...ordered the Department to refund tolls paid by Tropical. We review the trial court's ruling de novo. Fortune v. Gulf Coast Tree Care Inc. , 148 So. 3d 827, 828 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014) (citing Lombardi v. S. Wine & Spirits, 890 So. 2d 1128, 1129 (Fla. 1st DCA 2004) ) ("To the extent resolution o......
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    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 12 décembre 2016
    ...1st DCA 2015). Likewise, an issue involving a question of statutory interpretation is reviewed de novo . Fortune v. Gulf Coast Tree Care Inc., 148 So.3d 827, 828 (Fla. 1st DCA 2014). "The polestar of a statutory construction analysis is legislative intent." W. Fla. Reg'l Med. Ctr., Inc. v. ......
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