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    Pennsylvania Work Comp Law- Marazas v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (Vitas Healthcare Corporation)-Can An Employee, After Quitting, Be Considered In The Course And Scope Of Employment When Injured On The Premises Before Leaving?

    Yes. Why? Pursuant to this Decision from the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, dated August 11, 2014, even though the injured worker quit, the Employer directed him to clean out the truck before leaving, and after he did that, he tripped on a pallet jack causing a fall and resultant injury. The reasoning of the Court was that Claimant was doing something that the Employer requested, and he was on the Employer’s premises and furthering Employer’s interests when he sustained injuries- even though he had technically quit just moments before.

    In their Decision, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania distinguished the facts of this case with Little v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (B & L Ford/Chevrolet), 23 A.3d 637 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2011) where a claimant had a heart attack at his home two days after receiving a termination letter in the mail. Here, Claimant was injured on the Employer’s premises. In Little, the claimant was terminated by letter and died days after his employer severed the employment relationship. Here, Claimant sustained the injury on the last day of employment, “in temporal proximity to quitting, within a reasonable time of being required to be on the premises”.  Also, in Little, the claimant was not only fired, he was also not engaged in any work activities when he was pacing at his own home. Here, Claimant was injured while performing a task required by the Employer- cleaning out the truck.

    Note also that Claimant, while ultimately successful, as part of the appeal, argued that Employer’s admissions in a civil suit that Claimant was employed at the time of his injury, estopped Employer from denying that fact in the workers’ compensation proceeding. The Court delineated the factors of judicial estoppel and concluded that it did not apply in this case.

    The key in this Decision of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania is that under Section 301(c) (1) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, the phrase “arising in the course of employment” is construed to include injuries sustained in furtherance of the business affairs of the employer, as well as certain other injuries which occur on premises occupied or controlled by the employer. In this case, while Claimant had “quit”, the Employer then required him to perform a task and that’s when he was injured- thus, falling under the “arising in the course of employment” umbrella.

    For information about Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Law, call Certified Pennsylvania Work Comp Attorney, Michael W. Cardamone 7 days a week at (215) 206-9068 or email Michael@CardamoneLaw.com

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