Midwest City - Del City Schools v. Simpson[1] | Constitutional Law | Lawsuit

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()eT 2010 14
NOT FOR OFFICIAL PUBLICATION
WORKERS' COMPENSATION COURT

IN TIIE COURT OF CTVIL APPEALS OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA DMISION II

c;or.riir iiuilopFEAr-s o#' STATE
OFOtilAt-totuit

MIDWEST CITY/DEL CITY SCHOOLS,OWN RISK # I6LO2 InsuranceCarrier, Petitioners, vs. REGENIA K. SIMPSON and TIIE WORKERS' COMPENSATION COURT, Respondents.

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Mle6661 Rle s' HIE T,tERK
w . c . c . / f2OO9-t952Q No. 107,867 Case
EN BAI.IC PAIiIEL: J. Eldrldge J. Farrar J. Grove - DLssents

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PROCEEDINGTO REVIEW AN ORDER OF A THREE-JUDGEPAI{EL OF THE WORKERS' COMPENSATIONCOURT HONORABLE JOHN M. MoCORMICK, TRIAL JUDGE SUSTAINED W. JeffreyDasovich DASOVICH LAW OFFICE OklahomaCity, Oklahoma JobnD. Valentine RYANI BISHER RYANI OklahomaCity, Oklahoma

For Petitioners

For Respondent

PRESIDINGJUDGE: OPINION BY JOHN F. FISCTIER" an EmployerMidwest CitylDel City Public Schoolsappeals orderof a Court that vacatedthe trial panelof the Workers' Compensation three-judge court's orderand found that the injury sufferedby RegeniaK. Simpson(Claimant) in, out axose of, andwas sustained the courseof her employment. BACKGROIJNI) of On January21,2009,Claimant,an employee the Midwest City/Del City to Public Schootssystenl left her deskat the schoolpremises takeher lunch break. but The recordindicatesthat Claimant'slunch breakwas not strictly scheduled, takenwhen convenient.Claimantwas intendingto visit her elderly fatherduring her lgnch break. As was the normalpracticeat herjob, Claimantdid not punchout her timecardbefore leaving for lunch. As Claimantwalked directly from the threespaces her building and approached car,which wasparkedapproximately from the front door of the building, sheslippedoffa curb and fracturedher right ankle, requiring surgery. for The trial court deniedClaimant'srequest benefitson the groundsthat her injury did not ariseout of and in the courseof her employment.Claimant panel,which found her injury compensable, this appealed decisionto a three-judge review of andvacatedthe trial court's orderascontraryto law. Employerseeks

panelerredin this decision. The singleissueon appealis whetherthe three-judge in, finding that Claimant's injury aroseout of, and was sustained the courseof her employment. STAIIDARD OF REVIEW the Generatly, issueof whethera claimant'sinjury aroseout of andin the Court, courseof employnentis a questionof fact for the Workers' Compensation v. of standard review applies. City of Edmond. andthe any-competent-evidence facts wherethe relevant Monday,1995OK L32,n4,9\O P.2d980,982. However, court reviewsthe lower court's decisionas a matterof an areundisputedn appellate law, "dishubing it only if the undisputedmaterial facts do not supportthe OK Court's order." Amosv. Spiro Pub- 9chs.,2004 4' fl Workers'Compensation 8 8 5 , 8 5P . 3 d 1 3 , 1 5 .

It is undisputed,r",

when shesrippedon a curb in an

",",--:::;:::. one parking lot, approximately minuteafter leavingher deskto employer-provided while going to and lunch break.t "Generally,injuries sustained take her approved to are comingfrom work, when occurringon employerpremisesn deemed have
t Employer's brief describes injuty as occurring when Claimant "slipped and fell" the 'bending to opena car door." However, the undisputedtestimony at trial was that while Claimant"slipped offthe curb.o'

Fudgev. Universityof Oklahoma, arisenout of and in the courseof employment.requirement I 983 OK 67, n 4, 673P.2d 149 I 50.2 The arising-out-of-employment , in of an necessitates evaluation whetherClaimant'spresence the paxkinglot when to leaving for a regular lunch break was causallyconnected the duties of her employment.Id. The basicparkinglot rule is statedasfollows: As to parking lots ownedby the employer,or maintainedby the practicallyall jurisdictionsnow consider employerfor its employees, thempart of the "premises,"whetherwithin the main company from it. The rule is by no meansconfinedto premises separated or by confiolled,or maintained the employer. The p*kiog lots ownedn doctrine hasbeenappliedwhen the lot, althoughnot ownedby the employer,was exclusivelyused,or risedwith the owiter's special of or permission, just usedby the employees this employer. (2000)(footnotesomitted)' Law $ 13.04(2)(a) I Larson'sWorkers' Compensation underthese The treatisefurther explainsthat "[o]nce a parking lot hasachieved, premises, compensation the standards, statusof a portion of the employerls on to attaches any injury that would be compensable the main premises." coverage law, the to Id. at$ 13.04(2)(b).Pursuant Oklahomaworkers' compensation

2Although Fudge involved an injury sustained while crossingthe streetto reachan purt employer-spons6red iog lot, rather than in the parking lot, the holding in Fudge is not limited 'nu fiaffic, but insteadstandsfor the proposition thal when a parking lot constitutes taof to tle part of the employer's premises,an employee'sinjury zustainedwhen taveling to or from the lot io the office arisesout of andin the courseof emplolmett. SeeVeithv. Ogbum,2006 OK CfV APP 75,nzl,136 P.3d1080,1085.

Employer'spremises.Turnerv. B SewInn, parking lot in this caseconstitutes 18 2ooooK97,.1T9, P.3d1070,1072. recogpized Court hasconsistently "Since 1944,[the OklahomaSupreme] ownedor controlledby the employerwhile that when an injury occurson premises to going to and comingfrom work, it is deemed havearisenout of and in the the of conrse employment."Id. at!f 16, l8 P.3d at1074. However, Courthas ..limitedthe appticationof this rule by requiringa causalconnection the between injury and employmentor that the precipitating risk of harm was createdor maintainedby the employer." Id. (footnotesomitted)' that the parking lot rule of Turner doesnot apply in this Employer axgues Claimantintendedto visit her elderlyfatherduring her lunch break. casebecause personal"missionmotivatedClaimantto a that,because o'purely Employerargues Employer citesCorbettv. leaveher desk,Claimant'sinjury is non-compensable. A of Personnet,lggToK 40, g36P.2d932,insupport this argument. Express v. similarrule is foundin Thomas Keith HenselOpticalLabs,1982OK 120,653 these OK P.2dz}l, andFloyd v. TacoMayo,2OO2 58, 58 P.3d 197. However, the from the situationat hand. In thesecases, claimant are cases distinguishable lunch was involved in a personalmission,eitheroutsideof the regularlyscheduled breakor after the work shift ended. Corbettinvolved a claimantwho was injured

to whenhe lost control of his motorcyclewhile attempting pull out of his Court specificallynotedthat "Corbettleft employer'sparking lot. Ihe Supreme the workplaceshortly beforehis lunch breakbeganin orderto conductpersonal OK with his bank." Corbett,1997 40 attl9, 936P.2dat934.3In business Court specificallynotedthat the claimantleft his work'oaboutftve Thornas,the lunchbreakto removeicb from his windshield. scheduled minutesbeforeo'the Courtdistinguished Thomas,l982OK 120 atnz,653 P.2d at202. T\e Supreme for thesenon-habitgaland unusualdepartures personalpurposesfrom regular had lunchbreaks. Similarly, in Floyd,the claimant'sshift at a fast-foodrestaurant out and shehad signed for the day. Floyd,2002OK 58 at\12-3,58 P'3d at ended 196-97.Shewas injured,aboutfifteen minutesafter signingout, when shefell while refilling her drink. Id. Here,Claimanthad not clockedout andwas taking lunch her regular lunch break. Her leaving the work areato take an established Mills, Inc., mission. SeeRicheyv. Commander breakwas not a purely personal 805. 1974o.K47,521P.2d

3 See also Ford, 1998OK CIV APP 180,n3,970P.2d Hamiltonv.Dub Richardson 'Corbett left the workplace courtbasedits decisionon the fact that I 196, I lg1-g1("The supreme shortiy before his lunchbreak beganin order to conductpersonalbusinesswith his bank [and breaktime for lunch.")' was not within his employer'sestablished tfrisl exit from the premises

in evidence this caseis that Claimantfell on Employer's The undisputed premisesduring a normal lunch break, approximatelyone minute after leaving her to her surrounding injury areanalogous those desk. The factsandcircumstances in in Tumer, and supportthe finding that her presence the parking lot was out employmentrelatedandher injury axose of and in the courseof her OK97 atl25,18 P.3dat1076. employnent.Turner,2000 CONCLUSION factsof this casefall underthe "parking lot" rule of Tumer, The undisputed to and the Tumerrule is not limited pursuant thesefactsby Corbettv. Express personnet,lggT OK 40, 936P.2d932,or similar cases.Accordingly,we find the paneldid not err, and sustainthe orderappealed. three-judge SUSTAIIIED. WISEMAN, C.J.,andBARNES,J., concur. 13,2010 October

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