Allen & Gooch News

Supreme Court – Employer’s Right to Select Pharmacy

Lafayette Partner Keith Landry recently presented oral argument before the Louisiana Supreme Court regarding a nuanced choice of pharmacy and procedural issue. Keith obtained an excellent result for the client and pushed the Court to further clarify the employer’s right to select the pharmacy.

In 2017, the Louisiana Supreme Court in the Burgess decision held that the choice of pharmacy belongs to the employer. (Burgess v. Sewerage & Water Board of New Orleans, 16-2267 (La. 06/29/2017) 225 So. 3d 1020). The question presented in Keith’s case involved a retail employer who also operates pharmacies as part of their business, and whether the employer still retains choice of pharmacy when it directs the claimant to utilize the employer’s pharmacy. The claimant sought an order from the court allowing her to utilize a different pharmacy of her choosing instead of the employer’s pharmacy.

The Louisiana Supreme Court held via a procedural defect that the claimant’s motion to compel was premature and the decision of the court of appeal was to be reversed. The Court held that the employer never refused to furnish the necessary prescriptions, as the employer was always willing to provide the medications though its own pharmacy. Because of this deficiency, the Court determined that the claimant failed to present the requisite dispute, and that her recovery is generally limited to whether she experiences delays, deficiencies, or other issues in filling her prescriptions though the employer’s choice of pharmacy—none of which were present in this situation. While the claimant alleged a conflict of interest and harm, none was actually present before the Court because the employer and its pharmacy acted appropriately under the workers compensation act.

Congratulations to Keith on this accomplishment for a successful result and clarification of the law for this client and all employers!

Allen & Gooch is providing this legal update for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion as to any specific facts or circumstances. You should consult your own attorney concerning your particular situation and any specific legal questions you may have.