Wisconsin: Attorney’s “Rainmaking and Networking” In Connection With Harley-Davidson Rally Was Not Sufficiently Connected to Employment to Support Claim.

Wisconsin: Attorney’s “Rainmaking and Networking” In Connection With Harley-Davidson Rally Was Not Sufficiently Connected to Employment to Support Claim.

 

A Wisconsin appellate court affirmed a finding by the state’s Labor and Industry Review Commission that had concluded an attorney was not performing services growing out of and incidental to his employment at the time he was involved in a motorcycle accident that rendered him a quadriplegic.  The attorney contended his compensation was based on two components: (a) the work he performed; and (b) clients brought into the firm, regardless of who performed the legal work.  He contended that he joined a poker group comprised of small business owners, including Franken, a real estate appraiser, that the law firm reimbursed him for snacks he supplied for the poker nights, and that he considered his participation part of the overall marketing that he did for the firm.  He sustained his injuries while riding Franken’s motorcycle as the two drove, along with their wives, to a Harley-Davidson rally.  The appellate court indicated it agreed with the Commission's determination that, even if the poker games could be considered client entertainment, it did not follow that every trip or activity the attorney and Franken undertook together was client entertainment or business-related networking. Based on the court’s review of the record, it concluded that there was credible and substantial evidence to support the Commission's conclusion that the motorcycle trip was "simply a social outing among friends who occasionally did business together."

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 Westerhof v. State Labor and Indus. Review Comm’n., 2014 Wisc. App. LEXIS 410 (May 22, 2014) [2014 Wisc. App. LEXIS 410 (May 22, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 22.01 [22.01]

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

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