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Keyword: ‘going and coming’

5-6 Nights a Year Defeat “Special Mission” Exception to Going and Coming

September 12th, 2012 No comments

Private security firms often present a tricky issue for workers’ compensation matters.  Injuries still occur, despite the rigorous training courses they provide:

And then comes the inevitable debate – who is to bear the cost of applicant’s (allegedly) industrial injury?

Be careful, dear readers, in opening the can of worms that is Robert Flores v. Garnett Protective Services & Security.  There certainly are a few layers to this case.

Applicant Robert Flores was employed by Garnett, which, under the terms of its contract, provided security to Joseph’s Café.  Joseph’s was a venue version of Batman, providing restaurant service by day and night club service by night.  On occasion, Joseph’s Café would tip Flores and other security guards for a job well done, or offer them additional hours on a cash basis for extra events that were not on the regular schedule.

Garnett had trained Flores, and had the power to hire, fire, or direct his work.  Joseph’s had no one of these powers.

Mr. Flores was called in to do an extra shift, as he is five or six times a year, and was on his way to Joseph’s Café when an unfortunate automobile collision resulted in a claimed industrial injury.  Joseph’s Café had insurance, while Garnett had allowed its insurance to lapse, bringing in the California Insurance Guarantee Association.  CIGA’s position was, to the surprise of absolutely no one, that Joseph’s was also Flores’ employer, and that the injury sustained by Flores was industrial as a “special mission” exception to the “going and coming rule.”

The Arbitrator agreed, reasoning that employment was established by showing that sometimes Joseph’s would hire Flores directly to cover special events that were outside the scope of Joseph’s contract with Garnett, and that the special event to which Flores was going on the night of his injury constituted a “special mission” because it was unusual.

Joseph’s insurer, Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association Insurance Company, petitioned the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board for reconsideration, which was readily granted.  The WCAB held that Flores was not an employee of Joseph’s because Joseph’s had no power to control the manner of his performance or to terminate his employment, only to terminate its contract with Garnett.

Furthermore, because Flores worked special events, like the one he was headed to at the time of his injury-causing-collision, this was not a special errand or mission but just a regular discharge of his duties (although required of him infrequently).  Therefore, there was no industrial injury.

The dissenting opinion to the panel would have concurred with respect to employment, but not with respect to industrial injury.  Deputy Commissioner Sullivan would have found an industrial injury, reasoning that the scheduled event Flores was to work met the definition of a “special mission,” which “occurs when the employee is invited or required by the employer to perform an activity that is within the course of the employment, but is unusual or extraordinary in relation to the employee’s routine duties.”

Bear in mind, dear readers, that your humble blogger’s very instincts militate against agreeing with any notion that any injury should be considered industrial.  However, in this case, he is inclined to agree with Commissioner Sullivan’s opinion.  Although applicant’s regular job included duties year-round, a special mission was involved five to six nights a year.  Percentage-wise, the special events constituted 1.4-2% of the nights in the year, which should meet the definition of “unusual or extraordinary.”

But, there is cause for rejoicing all around, no?  After all, Pennsylvania is off the hook because it is not an employer; CIGA is off the hook because no industrial injury occurred, and Garnett is not on the hook as much as it thought it was, because the injury is now Flores’ responsibility (here’s hoping Mr. Flores had auto insurance!)

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Going and Coming Rule Fails

February 13th, 2012 1 comment

The “going [to work] and coming [from work]” rule is a subject that surfaces now and then in the world of workers’ compensation.  After all, injuries can happen anywhere, so why not while going to or coming from work?

The defense generally provides that an employer is not liable for workers’ compensation benefits for injuries sustained in transit between home and work or work and play.  But the defense is not a stone wall, smooth and solid and impenetrable, but rather a chain-link fence, with plenty of gaps, patches, and weaknesses.

In the case of Jesus Felix Castro v. State of California, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, applicant was a seasonal firefighter, who sustained a devastating injury as a result of a catastrophic car collision while he was on his way to work.  The attorney for the defense naturally raised the going and coming rule – on the way to work means on the way out of the California workers’ compensation system, generally speaking.

But the defense failed.

Applicant presented several witnesses, Mr. Castro’s co-workers, who testified to the effective requirement of bringing one’s own car to work.  There was more than one fire station to staff, and a firefighter never knew where he or she would end up working that day.  As such, employees had to bring their own car to work to get from Station A to Station B, as necessary.

The workers’ compensation Judge and the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board both held that the injury was compensable.

Bear in mind, learned readers, this holding is not new or off-the-cuff.  This holding was also issued in Smith v. Workmen’s Comp. App. Bd. (1968) “Surely in this day of a highly motorize society we cannot cast the going and coming rule as a protective cloak over the shoulders of the employer who, for his own advantage, demands that the employee furnish the car on the job.”

But this case does serve to remind employers, especially those in the private sector, that there is no such thing as a free lunch – money saved in shifting the cost of the travel between work sites to the employee can cost a lot of money in the form of an otherwise barred workers’ compensation claim.

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The Bite of the “Going and Coming” Rule

November 14th, 2011 No comments

If an employee “lives” far away from where he “works” is he ever off duty?  The answer, according to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and the Court of Appeal, is yes!

In the case of Dann Peter Shubin v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, applicant worked as a pilot for Southwest Airlines, and was based in Oakland, even though he and his wife “lived” in Pasadena.  Applicant would arrange his schedule to have weekends off and would stay with friends or in his van between flights.

Under Southwest Airlines’ scheduling scheme, after a flight, reserve pilots like Mr. Shubin would receive a 9-hour “rest” period during which they could not be recalled for more work.  Applicant had just started one of these rest periods and decided to visit friends in Winters, a town roughly an hour away.

En route, applicant was in a car collision, and subsequently filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.  The Workers’ Compensation Judge found the injury AOE/COE (arising out of employment and within the course of employment), and defendant filed a petition for reconsideration.

Because the WCJ did not submit a report on recommendation, we will never know his reasoning.  Never the less, the WCAB studied the issue and granted reconsideration, recognizing that the coming and going rule applied to this case.  [If the going and coming rule does not apply to an employee who, by company-wide policy, can not under any circumstances be assigned any tasks for the next 9 hours, I don’t know where it would apply.]

The “going and coming” rule is one of those rare instances where common sense and reasonability poke their way through the shroud of California’s Workers’ Compensation system.  Essentially, the rule provides that injuries sustained going to or coming from work are not covered by workers’ compensation.

There are exceptions to this rule, of course.  These exceptions include “special missions” and “commercial travelers,” the details of which are the subject of a future post.  Because applicant was officially and actually off-duty for the next 9 hours, the going and coming rule applied and applicant’s claim was barred.

Applicant was a free man living in a nation of laws – he chose to “live” in Pasadena, he chose to “work” in Oakland, and he chose to visit Winters on the night of his unfortunate car accident.  The only alternative outcome for this case would have been to hold that if an employee works outside the four walls of his home, he is always on duty by virtue of being on the other side of his front door.

Dear readers, by no means am I the type of man to tell others how to run their businesses.  But it is worthy to note that in this case, Southwest was saved by having a company-wide policy of duty/off-duty pilots and sticking to that policy.  No doubt if applicant could have offered evidence that pilots were occasionally called back to duty during their “rest” period, in violation of this rule, the case would have turned out quiet differently.

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CSIA Conference is Coming Up!

October 21st, 2015 No comments

Happy Wednesday, dear readers!

Halloween is coming up soon, and as we all know, there is nothing scarier than workers’ compensation! OOOOOOO … penalties… liens… OOOoooOOOooo!

Spooky, indeed, dear readers.

BUT, before you go a trickin’ and a treatin’ you may want to swing by Walnut Creek on Friday, October 30, 2015.

The California Self-Insurers Association is hosting its Fall Conference at the Walnut Creek Marriott and your humble blogger will be in attendance (now is your chance to finally vent about all the puns you’ve been forced to endure in your e-mail in box).

I’ve attended this one a few times in the past and it never disappoints – the speakers are always experienced with the substantive material and talented in their delivery; the subjects are current and interesting; and the bloggers in attendance are always as humble as humble goes.

Phil Millhollon, CSIA Executive President, says that one of the topics attendees can expect to be thoroughly discussed will be on an issue that’s been growing like a “weed” in California and the United States… medicinal marijuana (see what I did there? The kids call Marijuana “weed,” so…)

Marijuana has been a growing issue in California – federally illegal, but allowable on the state-side in certain circumstances.  Reimburseable under workers’ compensation or no?

If you’re going to be around, please stop by and say hello.

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Need an Uber Lyft? Self-Driver Cars Coming Closer and Closer…

March 18th, 2015 No comments

One day, dear readers, your humble blogger’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren shall gather by his feet near the fire, and ask, in modest and respectful tones, when and how the modern era began.  And, nodding sagely to his beloved family members, your humble blogger will answer: March 22, 2015.

That is the day, dear readers, when a little-known company named Delphi plans to set course from the Golden Gate Bridge to New York in a driverless car.  As your humble blogger has blogged before, this is not the end of our beginnings, but the beginnings of the end of life as we know it.

Think about that, dear readers – there is a real-life company planning on having a driverless car go from the West Coast to the East.  That’s not exactly a “test” drive on the private course of the Google campus, or a “controlled” jaunt for three miles of free-way under close CHP supervision.  This is the real deal – if a car can travel the length of a country, safely, efficiently, and without incident, it can probably do the job of every single professional driver in the country, from delivery trucks to taxi-cabs.

Now, if you’re in San Francisco, or several other places where the cab-industry is being turned on its head by the youngins’ and their “apps”, you’re probably seeing the modern-day friction between the lefty-San Fran with its dedication to unions and government-monopoly licensing as played out in the world of the Taxi-Cab drivers, and the new “hip,” “cool,” and “dope” trend of the Ubers and the Lyfts – taxi-drivers without many of the things people don’t like about taxi-drivers: lower rates, cleaner cars, ample availability and options, and no need to carry cash – the trip is planned, billed to the user’s credit card, and the transaction completed all over the phone.

But, while all of our friends, from the outspoken activists on Facebook, to the guy on the bus who doesn’t understand that headphones and a book mean you don’t want to talk to a stranger on the bus (Yes, “Jeff”, I’m talking about you!) argue about whether an Uber driver is an employee or an independent contractor, or whether Lyft drivers should have to get a medallion from the city, there is a host of car manufacturers out there, from Google to Volvo, who are manufacturing self-driven cars, which will likely lead to the elimination of a substantial portion of the driver workforce.

DOG IN ENGINE

Unless you’ve been binging on “I, Robot” you’re not going to be very motivated to demand workers’ compensation coverage for self-driven cars (or trucks, or busses) – just auto and business liability insurance.

Most scientists agree, once the driverless cars are forced to drive in my beloved quasi-home-town of San Francisco, with the one-way streets and the hills and the pedestrians who think the red hand of a cross-walk is meant to be an encouragement, they will experience a computerized form of “rage,” which will ultimately lead to sentience and, roughly, the scenarios depicted in Terminator 1 and 2.

When that happens, dear readers, your humble blogger will be ready to defend civilization, much as he does now.

To sum up – the driverless cars are a coming, and it looks like they’re coming quicker and safer than anything you have heading your way driven by a human.  I think it’s time we started making legislation, litigation, and business plans to suit.

Please note, dear readers, that this blog post should not be interpreted to suggest that there will not be, at some point, a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion apocalypse, but just that the rise-of-the-machines one seems to be the best bet for the tinfoil-hat crowd at the moment.

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Drunk Employees = Serious and Willful Penalties

July 1st, 2013 No comments

Can Serious and Willful Misconduct be expanded to include the actions of a drunk employee?  Can the theory include allowing an employee to remain at work?

That was the question posed by the recent writ denied case of Sandra Ellefson v. County of Los Angeles.

There, the employer was aware that an employee was drinking at work, and had been dealing with a drinking problem for 17 years.  Applicant had seen his drinking, and complained about abusive behavior (pinching, pushing, pulling her hair, stepping on her toes) to everyone short of Santa Clause, including her own supervisors and Drunky McDrunkerson’s supervisors too.

Things moved swiftly, as they often do in government, and four months later applicant still sat facing Mr. Al Caholic’s desk.

The employer’s witnesses, however, testified that they were only informed of the drinking problem, and not the abuse, and that their efforts were focused on getting the poor guy into treatment (FOR SEVENTEEN YEARS).

Ultimately, while walking around drinking Tequila, Sir Drinkalot tripped, fell on applicant, and caused her chair to break, which then in turn caused her to hit her face on her desk.  After resolving her case-in-chief, applicant also pursued Serious and Willful Misconduct penalties, which the workers’ compensation Judge denied.  While the defense was apparently celebrating their victory at Happy Hour, applicants’ counsel filed a petition for reconsideration.

Generally speaking, your humble blogger disfavors rulings or findings that are adverse to a defendant.  But in this case, I can’t help but side with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board in its finding that defendant had committed serious and willful misconduct by ignoring the repeated complaints (remember, dear readers, the County of Los Angeles had been “dealing” with Mr. McCrunk’s drinking at work for 17 years!)

There was, however, a dissent: Commissioner Moresi made the point, as was made by the WCJ, that because of the 17 years without any injury, the employer had no reason to expect any injury to other employees.  Al was just being Al, and there was no reason to connect the dots between a habitually inebriated employee and actual injury (if this bomb hasn’t exploded yet, why would it ever?)

In all fairness, this is a valid point – time had effectively proven Mr. Barfly to be relatively harmless.  But, then again, the day before Thanksgiving, each turkey is more convinced than ever that it is loved and perfectly safe, based solely on the events of the preceding 364 days.  We all know that Thanksgiving is coming sooner or later.  The past 17 years were a windfall for the employer – it had allowed a worker to remain perpetually drunk at his post and had avoided the likely consequences of his inebriation: injury to himself or others.

By the by – does no one care that the County of Los Angeles has had an employee at his post, drunk, for the last 17 years?  The opinion even notes testimony that supervisors had noted unfinished work, clear mistakes, and slurred speech.  And now the good citizens of Los Angeles County get to ask their elected officials why the penalties are being taken out of the budget instead of going to another project.

In any case – if you’re an employer, please, please, please don’t let your employees remain at work drunk.   Send them home, discipline them, fire them, get them into treatment – do whatever.  But don’t expose your employees, your customers, or even your management staff to what could easily happen when a person drinks too much.

Cheers!

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Treatment Disputes to AME? Try and Stop Us!

June 14th, 2013 No comments

So, dear readers, how are we feeling about the Independent Medical Review process?  It’s a coming pretty soon, and it won’t be long before the independent medical review board is handling all cases.

Under Labor Code section 4610.5, IMR is now the name of the game – no more medical disputes to be put to PQMEs, and just Utilization Review and the IMR to decide whether applicants get those medically-necessary hot-tubs and large-screen TVs to relieve from the effects of the latest paper-cuts and stubbed toes.

Now here’s an interesting question to answer: how enforceable is Labor Code section 4062.2, subsection (f)?  After all, that section says that “[t]he parties may agree to an agreed medical evaluator at any time, except as to issues subject to the independent medical review process established pursuant to section 4610.5.”

So applicant and defendant are sitting there looking at a UR report which recommends that authorization for a recommended medical treatment be denied.  In theory, this can go to the IMR, but what if defendant or applicant proposes an alternative – “Hey, Jerry, why don’t we write a letter to the AME and have him address this instead?”

Well, why don’t they?

Sure, section 4062.2(f) says they can’t… but who is going to stop them?  If the applicant agrees, and defendant agrees, whatever the result will be, the time for conducting the IMR process will have passed by the time the AME report comes back.  And, after all, if either party goes back on its word… well… workers’ compensation is a fairly small community, and one doesn’t get many opportunities to break a promise to the same person.

After the panel process was forced on the workers’ compensation community as part of SB-899, many parties (even for injuries after 1/1/05) retained their own QMEs, and many workers’ compensation Judges turned a blind eye… perhaps we can expect the same thing for years to come?

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Goldilocks and the Three QMEs

March 22nd, 2013 No comments

Believe it or not, there are still some old dinosaur cases roaming around that are using the pre-2005 dueling QME system.  Your humble blogger knows some attorneys that still long for the old days when QMEs were retained, armed to the teeth, and sent to battle to the death at the Board Thunderdome (two docs enter, one doc leaves!)

MDs fighting

But now we live in more civilized times, where applicants still choose their own QME (in the form of a treating physician), and defendants much take their pick from the stacked deck of panel qualified medical evaluators.  Generally speaking, only Asbestos matters and pre-2005 cases allow each party to retain its own expert.  (Although your humble blogger has heard that some Judges used to allow parties to pick their own QMEs if the Medical Unit dragged big, Medical feet.)

Recently, your humble blogger, in his search for the latest and greatest case developments, stumbled across a rare gem going over the limits of the QME dance.  In particular, how much Earth is an applicant’s attorney allowed to scorch by finding new QMEs to run up defendant’s bill?  Can Goldilocks, Esq., send six bankers’ boxes of medical records to a new QME every two months until she finds one that is “just right?” (Or until the bills to the defense are “just right?”)

Not so much.  Applicant’s counsel went through three QMEs in the case of Larry Wiacek v. Fujitec America, and wasn’t too happy when the workers’ compensation Judge wouldn’t let him use the third’s report.  Relying on McDuffie v. L.A. County Metropolitan Transit Authority (2002, en banc), the WCJ held that applicant’s counsel could not simply bounce from QME to QME at the defendant’s expense, but had to follow a set procedure – which includes seeking supplemental reports, deposing the QME, and ultimately seeking Judicial assistance in finding a new medical examiner.

In the Wiacek case, however, applicant just picked a new QME and moved on, leaving a wake of unfinished reports and unjustified bills for the defendant to pick up.

The WCJ in this case allowed applicant to present the reports of the second QME because the first did not provide an AOE/COE determination, and then the case got weirder!  The second QME (and I remind you, dear reader, that naming names is disfavored in this little corner of the Internet), found exposure to coccidioidomycosis infection while driving between the Bay Area and Los Angeles during his weekends away from the job-site in L.A.  (This started out as an asbestos claim, but turned into a claim of “valley fever)

The WCJ would not admit the reports of the third QME because applicant did not follow the McDuffie procedures before moving onto a third, and the second QME provided an AOE/COE determination.

The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board denied applicant’s petition for reconsideration and incorporated the WCJ’s report.

Now mind you, dear readers, this case is important – there are applicant’s attorneys out there (and again, I won’t name names) who have a policy of costing defendants money: either through settlement or through litigation costs, those evil monsters who dare to employ someone in California are going to pay!  One way to do this is to drive up litigation costs: duplicative subpoenas, unnecessary document production to physicians and infinite supplemental report requests, and other tricks of a similar nature (no need to give people any ideas…)

It’s important to rein in such waste and the WCJ did a good job of it here.

As a side note, the WCJ also found that the injury fell under the scope of the going and coming rule, which is a pleasant result to see.

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Where to Park the Liability – on Parking Lots and Workers’ Comp (Part 3 of 3)

October 19th, 2012 No comments

“Cheer up,” I told my brother-in-law, Jasper.  “Not all injuries sustained in parking lots are compensable.”  At that, Jasper seemed to rekindle the possibility of a parking-lot obstacle course and he began to listen closely.

For example, in the case of Jessica Rodgers v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, an employee took a break from work to go to the bank.  She then returned to the work parking lot and arranged her money before stepping out of her car and returning to work.  In between her car and the building, however, a “biker,” who had followed her from the bank, attacked her and stole her money.

Even though the injury was sustained during work hours, between starting and finishing the day’s shift, and in the employer parking lot, the Court of Appeal held that the injury was not compensable because the cause of the injury was formed independent of any work-related activity – the biker just wanted to rob her, regardless of where she worked or who she was.

Likewise, in the panel decision of Basil Perkins v. City of Los Angeles, the applicant, a city animal control officer, was shot while napping in his work-vehicle, while parked in the employer-owned lot, and wearing his uniform.  As his home was over 130 miles away, he made a regular practice of napping in his car after a shift had ended.

Initially, the workers’ compensation Judge found the injury compensable, but the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board reversed, finding the injury was not compensable, as the shift had ended, and the employee was only in the parking lot for his convenience.  In other words, the scope of employment cannot be artificially extended by dallying on the employer’s premises.

The same occurred when a worker arrived to work too early, as in the writ denied case of Paul Grove (Dec’d), Sharon Grove (Widow) v. Miller Coors, LLC. In that case, the employee had arrived to work early and had used the restroom at work less than two hours before the start of his shift, when he sustained an injury in the restroom.  There, the workers’ compensation Judge found the injury to be non-compensable.

Fortunately, Jasper never got to try out his obstacle course idea – the wheel barrel industry took a down-turn, and he decided expanding beyond his garage was not a good idea at this time.  Regardless, here are some take-away rules:

  1. Arriving at an employer-owned or provided parking lot begins the scope of the employment relationship and ends the commute, so long as the arrival is within the regular time for employment.
  2. If travel to the employer or the employer’s parking lot presents a “special risk” to the employees, then the time during which the employee is exposed to the risk will not be barred by the Going and Coming Rule.
  3. Injuries sustained in an employer-provided parking lot are subject to AOE/COE analysis, so injuries sustained for reasons unrelated to work, such as robberies, will not be compensable, unless the special risk doctrine applies.
  4. Whatever the liability for workers’ compensation, the “Going and Coming” rule is not subject to the premises rule for civil liability and respondeat superior, as found by the Court of Appeal in Dean Hartline v. Kaiser Foundation Hospitals.
  5. Do NOT invest in the wheel-barrel market if the president of your company is busy planning an obstacle course for his employees trying to get to work.

 

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Where to Park the Liability – on Parking Lots and Workers’ Comp (Part 1 of 3)

October 15th, 2012 No comments

Employees sometimes drive to work,
And then they find a parking spot,
Sometimes on a busy street,
Sometimes in a parking lot,
But injuries can still occur,
Between their cars and the front door,
And who will pay for slips and falls,
Will always be the Judge’s call.

Such is the nursery rhyme sung to children of applicants’ attorneys and defense lawyers in the dark and murky world of California workers’ compensation.

This issue came up recently while I was having lunch with my brother-in-law, Jasper.  Jasper had been doing well recently in the wheel-barrel industry, and wanted to expand his operations from his garage to a real factory.  He invited me to lunch to present me with some exciting investment opportunities in the wheel-barrel industry.  Currently, Jasper had his eye set on one location in particular because it came with a parking lot.

His plan was to set up a series of obstacles in the parking lot, in the hopes that the employee with poor agility and balance would sustain injury outside his factory and shield him from workers’ compensation liability.  Thus, only the workers that could swim faster than sharks, swing over quick-sand pits, and tight-rope over mine-fields would actually make it to work.

Without getting into issues of Serious and Willful Misconduct, for those readers out there that aren’t Jasper, when you’re facing a claim of injury in or near a parking lot, are you on the hook?  Let’s start with the basics.

In order for an injury to fall within the scope of California’s workers’ compensation system, as opposed to general civil tort, the injury must arise out of and occur within the course of employment.  (See Labor Code section 3600.)  This is commonly referred to as AOE/COE.  Generally speaking, injuries sustained during the regular commute to or from work are not compensable, unless they fit into one of several exceptions.

But what about that last stretch of travel, between the car door and the building door?

In the case of Lewis v. WCAB, Lewis parked in a lot leased for employees.  Walking down the street to her office, three block away, she fell.  In finding the claim compensable, the Supreme Court reasoned that there is a “reasonable margin of time and space necessary to be used in passing to and from the place where the work is to be done” included within the scope of employment.

The Court went further, noting that once the employee enters the premises under the control of the employer, including employer-owned parking lots, the commute has ended and the scope of employment has begun.  (See Santa Rosa Junior College v. WCAB, footnote 11.)

By providing an employee parking lot, Jasper could very well find himself increasing his liability with every square foot of parking under his control.

At this, Jasper got nervous and decided his plan would have to be changed.  Instead, he would have his employees park on the street and use the entire lot for more obstacles.  After all, he read an article in Wheel Barrels and Workers’ Comp., a very limited-circulation magazine which only exists in this story, which discussed a similar idea.  There, the article’s author discussed two cases.

The first, an unpublished decision by the Court of Appeal, was Sharp Coronado Hospital v. WCAB.  There, the Court held that an employee asked by its employer to park on the street instead of the parking lot was precluded from recovering for an injury sustained while walking from the employee’s parked car to the hospital.  The other, General Insurance Co. v. WCAB, held that an employee struck while crossing the street from his parked car to work could not recover because of the going and coming rule.

Furthermore, he had heard his friend, an applicants’ attorney, grumbling about the panel decision in the case of Sharon Ewegemi v. Oakland Unified School District.  In that case, he understood, a teacher had parked her car on the street and was just a few feet from the door of her school when she turned back to get some papers from her car.  Walking to her car, she tripped and fell in the street.

In denying her application, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board reasoned that, until she entered the school and began working, she was still engaged in her commute, even up to a few feet away from the school.

Jasper’s new plan could put all this into use, he though, by having his employees cross the obstacle course before entering the front door.

Now, bear in mind, dear readers, this is my brother-in-law, so things had to be stated delicately, or else every Thanksgiving Dinner would include Jasper mumbling about how he hopes I come see his snake-pit.  So, I had to explain that his new idea wouldn’t exactly work, either.

Why wouldn’t Jasper’s idea work?  Come back Wednesday to find out!

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