On a dark and stormy Sunday night, a police chief fell on his driveway while getting into his truck to drive into town and check for storms. His job duties involved storm spotting by finding the highest ground to see if he could spot a tornado or any storm damage. The employer and the employer's trust disputed whether the accident arose out of his employment. Both parties had separate counsel.
The ALJ awarded medical benefits in the temporary award in addition to attorney's fees for the claimant's counsel and the employer. The Commission reversed the award of fees because the defense was not egregious as statutory reform raised many issues whether some accidents arose out of employment. Claimant asserted he was on a special task, he was paid for his services, and that his investigation was integral since he was the only officer on duty in a town of less than 600. The ALJ found the task work-related and reasonable not only to check for damage from storms but to prevent damage if the siren itself was stuck. Baldwin v City of Fair Play, 2012 Mo WCLR Lexis 59 (3-21-2012).
Source: Martin Klug, Huck, Howe & Tobin. Read Martin Klug's Mo. Workers' Comp Alerts.
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