May 25, 2006
Got appointed to represent a defendant in a car theft case, so I went over to the jail today to interview him. We went through the preliminaries, and then I asked him to tell me what happened. "Well," he says, "I'd gotten out of prison earlier that day..." That'll look good on the "Defendant's Version" section of the presentence report.
On to the law.
These boots weren't made for walking... An employee is required by his company to wear heavy-duty workboots on the job, and although the employee decides which boot to purchase, the company has to approve the choice. The employee then winds up with an ulcerated blister on his foot because the boot proves defective. Is this covered by workers comp?
No, according to Anderson v. Sherwood Food Distributors. Judge Corrigan's majority opinion holds that while the injury occurred in the course of Anderson's employment, it didn't occur within the scope of his employment: "his employment did not cause the blister - his defective boot did." The court distinguishes a 1930 case in which the employee had died - yes, died - from a blister caused by walking over rough ground at a construction site; in this case, the court holds, "nothing particular to the Sherwood workplace contributed to the injury." Judge Blackmon's dissent argues that the what the court is actually doing is applying the "special hazards rule," by holding that in order to be compensable, the injury must arise from some facet of employment that the general public is not exposed to, and that the special hazards rule has no application where the injury actually occurs on the employer's premises.