The issue in this case is whether the Louisiana Worker's Compensation Law applies to volunteer firemen. Plaintiff-appellant, Mr. L. Carmello Genusa, Sr., while a member of the Pointe Coupee Volunteer Fire District, a member of its board of commissioners, and Fire Chief of the district, injured his back
Mr. Genusa then filed this appeal.
The first issue raised on appeal by Mr. Genusa is his argument that the Pointe Coupee Volunteer Fire District and Commercial Union Insurance Company are estopped from alleging that he is not an employee within the meaning of the Louisiana Worker's Compensation Law because they paid him weekly worker's compensation benefits for two and a half years.
However, Louisiana Revised Statute 23:1204 provides "Neither the furnishing of medical services nor payments by the employer or his insurance carrier shall constitute an admission of liability for compensation under this Chapter." Further, this Court held in Robin v. Brandin, 45 So.2d 423, 427 (La.App. 1st Cir.1950):
This argument has no merit.
The second issue raised on appeal by Mr. Genusa is the administrative hearing officer's finding that he is not an "employee" within the meaning of the Louisiana Worker's Compensation Law. He argues that the administrative hearing officer's decision turned on the absence of any wages or other types of remuneration for his services, but that the essence of the employment relationship is not based upon remuneration, but upon the right of control.
It is settled law that a prerequisite to any action arising under the Louisiana Worker's Compensation Law is the existence of an employer-employee relationship. Dupre v. Sterling Plate Glass & Paint Company, Inc., 344 So.2d 1060, 1063 (La.App. 1st Cir.), writ denied, 347 So.2d 246 (La.1977); Vaughn v. Baton Rouge General Hospital, 421 So.2d 288, 290 (La.App. 1st Cir.1982). The essence of the relationship is the right to control. The four primary evidentiary factors considered in deciding the above are: 1) selection and engagement; 2) payment of wages; 3) power of dismissal; and 4) power of control. Alexander v. J.E. Hixson & Sons Funeral Home, 44 So.2d 487, 488 (La.App. 1st Cir.1950); St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Company v. Richard, 208 So.2d 35, 38-39 (La.App. 3d Cir.) (on rehearing), writ denied, 252 La. 171, 210 So.2d 54 (1968); Vaughn, 421 So.2d at 290. None of these factors are the sole determinant of an employer-employee relationship. However, as a general rule, for such a relationship to exist, there must be a contract of employment, either expressed or implied, whereby services are furnished in anticipation of compensation. Dupre, 344 So.2d at 1063; Vaughn, 421 So.2d at 290.
Also, Louisiana Revised Statute 23:1046 provides in part:
This statute provides that Mr. Genusa's status as Fire Chief and his status as a member of the board of commissioners of the Pointe Coupee Volunteer Fire District clearly did not entitle him to worker's compensation benefits; further, we find that as a member of the volunteer fire department, his services were in the nature of a gratuity and he neither expected nor received financial compensation upon which worker's compensation benefits could be calculated.
After a thorough review and evaluation of the record, we find no error in the administrative hearing officer's judgment and we affirm, casting plaintiff-appellant, Mr. Genusa, with all costs.