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In re Compensation of King

Court of Appeals of Oregon

October 30, 2019

In the Matter of the Compensation of Christina King, Claimant.
v.
SAIF CORPORATION and High Desert Education Service, Respondents. Christina KING, Petitioner,

          Argued and Submitted December 20, 2018

          Workers' Compensation Board 1605695

          Aron D. Yarmo argued the cause for petitioner. Also on the briefs was Bailey & Yarmo, LLP.

          Beth Cupani argued the cause and fled the brief for respondents.

          Before Hadlock, Presiding Judge, and DeHoog, Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge.

         Case Summary: Claimant seeks judicial review of an order of the Workers' Compensation Board determining that her foot injury, which occurred when she slipped on ice in the parking lot of the school where she was teaching, is not compensable. Claimant contends that she was still in the course of her employment at the time of her injury, because, although the principal had released teachers for the day, the injury occurred during claimant's regular work hours and she could have been required to return to the building or help a student in the parking lot. Held: Because claimant had been released from and was leaving work at the time of her injury, under the going and coming rule, the injury did not occur in the course of claimant's employment.

          [300 Or.App. 268] HADLOCK, P. J.

         Claimant seeks review of an order of the Workers' Compensation Board determining that her foot injury is not compensable. We review the board's order for substantial evidence and errors of law, ORS 656.298(7); ORS 183.482 (8)(a), (c). Having done so, we conclude that the board did not err. Accordingly, we affirm.

         Employer, the High Desert Education Service District (employer or the HDESD), provides substitute teachers on contract for a number of school districts in Central Oregon. Claimant is a teacher and receives substitute teaching assignments from employer. Claimant accepted an assignment to provide long-term substitute teaching at an elementary school in Bend while another teacher was on parental leave.

         Because claimant has not challenged the board's findings of historical fact, those findings establish the facts for purposes of judicial review, and our description of the facts is drawn from those findings. Meltebeke v. Bureau of Labor and Industries, 322 Or. 132, 134, 903 P.2d 351 (1995).

         Claimant's regular shift at the school ended each day at 4:00 p.m. On the day she was injured, the school's principal had told teachers that, because of inclement weather, they should plan to leave school as soon as possible after students were released at 3:30. Claimant left her classroom shortly after students were dismissed, before 4:00 p.m. On her way out of the building, she encountered a student, whom she assisted. Then, as she walked to her car through the school's parking lot, she slipped and fell on ice, injuring her ankle.

         Claimant filed a claim with employer, which denied the claim for the reason that claimant was not in the course of her employment at the time of the injury.[1] In affirming an order of an administrative law judge (ALJ), the board upheld employer's denial. The ALJ's order, adopted by the [300 Or.App. 269] board, cited the "going and coming rule," under which injuries sustained while an employee is traveling to or from work do not occur in the course of employment. See SAIF v. Massari, 291 Or.App. 349, 420 P.3d 659 (2018) (describing "going and coming" rule); see also Krushwitz v. McDonald's Restaurants, 323 Or. 520, 526-27, 919 P.2d 465 (1996) (same). The board concluded that, because claimant "had been released from work for the day and was no longer subject to the employer's direction and control," the going and coming rule applied, and claimant's injury did not occur in the course of her employment.

         On judicial review, claimant contends that the board erred because, at the time of the injury, claimant was still in the course of her employment. Claimant acknowledges that the parking lot where she slipped on ice is not owned or controlled by the HDESD, and she does not challenge the board's determination that the "parking lot" exception to the "going and coming" rule does not apply.[2] Nonetheless, claimant contends that the parking lot was part of her employment premises, and she testified that, had she encountered a child in the parking lot in need of assistance, it would have been within her responsibility as a teacher to assist. Additionally, claimant notes that she was still technically "on the clock" and within her shift at the time she left the school at the principal's direction, and that if she had been required by the principal to return to the building before her shift ended at 4:00 p.m., she would have complied. Claimant cites those facts in support of her contention that her responsibilities as a teacher continued in the parking lot and that she therefore was in the course of her employment at the time of the injury.

          [300 Or.App. 270] Claimant also cites our opinion in Massari, in which we upheld the compensability of an injury suffered by a physician when he slipped and fell on ice in a hospital parking lot while on his way to work after his shift had begun. In claimant's view, this case is analogous, because claimant's work shift had ...


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