Five Recent Cases You Should Know About (3/4/2011)

Larson's Spotlight on Employee Status, Street Risk Doctrine, Course and Scope of Employment, Recklessness by Employee, and Tort Action. Larson's surveys the latest case developments that you need to know about. Thomas A. Robinson, the staff writer for Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, has compiled the list below.

CA: Injured Stunt Performer Was Employee, Not Independent Contractor

Agreeing with the trial court that a production company that had hired the performer through a "loan-out" company had the right to control the manner and method of the performer's work and to terminate the working relationship at the end of each week, with no obligation to rehire, a California appellate court recently held that the performer was an employee and not an independent contractor.  The performer's civil action against the production company for injuries sustained on a set was accordingly barred by the exclusive remedy rule.  The appellate court discounted the fact that the performer's work required particular skill; the performer had no substantial control over the operational details of the set.  He was the production company's special employee.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Cal. App. LEXIS 210. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven’t registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 61.03.

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IL: Clerk's Injuries Due to Fall on Public Sidewalk Were Compensable Under "Street Risk" Doctrine

Reversing a county circuit court, an Illinois appellate court has held that injuries sustained by an accounting clerk arose out of and in the course of her employment when she stumbled and fell on a dip in a driveway that intersected a public sidewalk.  The court noted that the undisputed evidence was that the clerk was required to traverse the public streets and sidewalks to make bank deposits on behalf of her employer.  Although the risk of stumbling and falling was the sort of risk faced by the public at large, it was a risk to which the clerk, by virtue of her employment, was exposed to a greater degree than the general public, indicated the court.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Ill. App. LEXIS 100. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven’t registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 6.03.

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PA: Worker's Leap Down Flight of Steps Was Sufficiently Reckless So As to Remove Him From Course and Scope of Employment

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania recently reversed a decision by a workers' compensation judge, that was subsequently affirmed by the Appeal Board, that awarded benefits to a worker who jumped down a flight of approximately 12 steps, sustaining fractures of both legs. The Commonwealth Court found that the worker's action did not further the business, affairs, or any specific interest of the employer; did not maintain any skills necessary to the performance of his job; was wholly foreign to his employment; and was not encouraged by the employer.  Accordingly, the premeditated, deliberate, extreme, and inherently high-risk nature of his action was sufficient to remove him from the course and scope of his.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Pa. Commw. LEXIS 72. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven’t registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 33.01.

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OH: Worker's Injuries Sustained While Helping Co-Worker Retrieve Potato Chips from Vending Machine Are Compensable

Reversing a grant of summary judgment favoring the employer, an Ohio appellate court has held that injuries sustained by a janitor as he attempted to help a co-worker lift, and then drop, a vending machine so as to dislodge a pack of potato chips were compensable.  Noting that the janitor was not engaged in any horseplay, that he was attempting to help another worker, and that it was reasonable for the employer to foresee that he might engage in such an action, the court found that the injuries arose out of and in the course of the employment.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Ohio App. LEXIS 325. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven’t registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 33.01.

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TX: Worker's Tort Action Against Non-Subscribing Employer Fails Due to His Own Reckless Actions

Affirming summary judgment in favor of the employer, a Texas appellate court recently agreed that the proximate cause of the worker's injuries was his decision to try to climb over a fence while carrying a sixty pound object in both hands, that the worker was free to choose to load the truck over or through the fence rails, or at a gate.  A person of ordinary prudence would have anticipated the danger of slipping while scaling the fence with the heavy object in both hands.

FREE VERSION: Access the case on lexisONE free case law. Click on tab for Free Case Law. Click on the radio button for Search by Citation. Enter this citation: 2011 Tex. App. LEXIS 1464. Then click on the red button Search for Free. Note: If you haven’t registered for free at lexisONE, you will be prompted to do so in order to access the free case law.

FULLY FEATURED VERSION: Lexis.com subscribers can read the fully featured case here. See generally Larson's Workers' Compensation Law, § 102.01.

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

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