Oregon Course and Scope Cases Focusing on Where Injury Occurred
In two recent cases, the Oregon Court of Appeals found two off-premises injuries compensable. Charles Davis v SAIF, 316 Or App 301 (2021); Lahna Lynn v SAIF, 315 Or App 720 (2021).
In Davis, an off-duty pool hall manager verbally escorted a troublesome customer out to the sidewalk. Claimant flicked a cigarette out of the customer’s hand and pushed him before the customer punched claimant. In affirming the denial, the board found the act of ejecting the person was within claimant’s work duties, but those duties did not extend to the sidewalk. The court disagreed and found the chosen method of carrying out a work task (by pursuing the person outside and using physical force) did not break the work connection. The court was not persuaded by the argument regarding the injury occurring out on the sidewalk, and the case was remanded to the board to address the active participant in assault or combat affirmative defense.
In the Lynn, a dental hygienist was injured on her way to work when she slipped and fell in the employer’s annex parking lot at a neighboring bank. Claimant slipped on ice due to the bank’s sprinkler system overflowing and freezing. The court affirmed the board’s conclusion of compensability. Specifically, they focused on (1) the employer strongly encouraged its employees to use the annex lot; (2) the employer reportedly had exclusive right to use those spots; (3) employer leased those spots; and (4) employer had a practice of reporting parking complaints or requests to the landlord despite not having a formal agreement over the right to request maintenance.
As with any course/scope issue, the specific facts of your case could be used to distinguish them from these decisions. However, it is important to note that simply because the injury occurred off the employer’s premise, it may not be enough to support a claim denial without further investigation. Looking into past conduct by the parties involved, the actual control over the property, and whether the job duties brought claimant to that area will be important in investigating your claim.
If you have any questions regarding these cases or similar issues, please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at or 503-595-2130.
Posted by Kevin Anderson.