Massachusetts: University’s Control of Public Street Doesn’t Turn Street Into Its “Premises,” Injury Claim Barred by Going and Coming Rule

In a decision designated as unpublished, the Appeals Court of Massachusetts held that an M.I.T. employee, who sustained injuries in an accident as he drove his motor scooter home from work, did not sustain an injury arising out of and in the course of the employment; his claim was barred by the going and coming rule. The employee had a clever argument: while he admits that Ames Street, the locus of the accident, was a public way, he contends that because MIT owned the buildings on either side of Ames Street and because his travel route home on this day necessitated that he take Ames Street, he had not left MIT’s “premises” for purposes of compensation under the Massachusetts statute. Indeed, it appeared that MIT exercised some control over Ames Street in that MIT plowed and cleared snow there during the winter months and furthermore, MIT campus police patrol Ames Street and, in fact, were the first responders to the scene of the employee’s accident. The administrative judge, however, rejected the employee’s claims and the appellate court agreed. Noting that on some days the employee took public transportation, that on others he drove his scooter, and that he was free to park anywhere in the area—he could, therefore, have avoided Ames Street altogether—the court found the judge’s decision was amply supported by the evidence.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Kelbe’s Case, 2014 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 735 (June 12, 2014) [2014 Mass. App. Unpub. LEXIS 735 (June 12, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 13.01 [13.01]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

For more information about LexisNexis products and solutions connect with us through our corporate site