Erin Taylor (Charlotte) and Walter Dennis (Raleigh) successfully defended a back injury claim by a plaintiff who was allegedly injured in a single-car collision on the morning of Saturday, October 17, 2015. Plaintiff is an airplane mechanic/repairman. At the time of the incident, plaintiff was driving a rental car provided by the employer for an out-of-town job from which plaintiff had returned the previous night. Plaintiff claimed that, at the time of his injury, he was on his way to the employer’s facilities in Greensboro to pick up supplies for the upcoming week and perhaps to work on another aircraft. Defendants argued that plaintiff’s work for the week had concluded upon his return home on Friday night, and that at the time of his accident, plaintiff was either using the rental car for a personal errand or driving to Greensboro on business that was neither authorized by nor for the benefit of the employer.
The case was bifurcated to allow the parties to address the threshold issue of whether plaintiff’s alleged injuries arose out of or in the course of his employment. At the hearing, a co-worker of plaintiff testified that plaintiff had not told him he was traveling to Greensboro to pick up supplies on Saturday morning, and plaintiff’s supervisor testified that he had not instructed plaintiff to pick up any supplies and that, in any event, plaintiff had no authority to purchase supplies for the project. Deputy Commission Tyler Younts issued an Opinion and Award finding that plaintiff’s activities at the time of his alleged injury did not come within the “continuous employment” doctrine and that plaintiff’s accident did not fall within any of the recognized exceptions to the “going and coming” rule. As a result, plaintiff’s accident did not occur within the course and scope of his employment, and his claim was denied.
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