A Georgia appellate court recently affirmed a trial court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of an employer in a negligence action filed against it by an employee who was attacked and kidnapped from the parking lot of the store at which she worked and was thereafter physically and sexually assaulted by the perpetrator. The trial court agreed with the employer that the employee’s claim was barred by the exclusive remedy provisions of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act. The employee contended her injuries did not arise out of her employment with Wal-Mart and that accordingly, her civil action should not be barred. Reviewing a number of prior cases that were somewhat similar, the appellate court indicated that there was no dispute that the employee and the perpetrator were unknown to each other prior to the attack, and thus, the perpetrator randomly attacked the employee merely because she was at the location. That the employee may have resembled the perpetrator’s girlfriend, who may have rejected him, was speculative and unproven as having any role in the attack. The court added that even if the employee’s appearance somehow played a part in the perpetrator’s decision to attack, it was undisputed that the employee was walking from the parking lot into the store at an early morning hour when it would still have been dark. Under these circumstances, the trial court correctly determined that the employee’s claims against Wal-Mart were precluded by the exclusive remedy provision of the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act.
Reported by Thomas A. Robinson, J.D.
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See Dawson v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2013 Ga. App. LEXIS 896 (Nov. 12, 2013) [2013 Ga. App. LEXIS 896 (Nov. 12, 2013)]
See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 100.01 [100.01]
Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.
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