Case Law Update

August 4, 2014

PPL v WCAB (Kloss), __ A.3d __ (Pa. Cmwlth. No. 1634 C.D. 2013, filed June 11, 2014).

 

In Kloss, the employer maintained a subsidized parking program for its employees, through which it leased parking spaces in a commercial parking garage, owned and rented by a third party. The employer gave employees the option of renting a space at a reduced rate. The employer did not require its employees to park in the parking garage and had a subsidy program for employees who preferred to use public transportation.

 

 

The claimant in Kloss was injured while she was in one of the parking garages, which was a part of the parking program, after her shift had ended. Both the WCJ and Board found that the injury had occurred within the course and scope of the claimant’s employment. The Commonwealth Court reversed.

 

 

The Court found that the parking lot was not an integral part of the employer’s business because the Employer did not require claimant or any other employee to park in the parking garage where the claimant had been injured. Rather, parking in the lot was optional and subject to availability. Additionally, the employer offered subsidized parking in another building as well as a subsidy for public transportation. The Court found that the subsidies merely represented a benefit of employment and did render the parking garages or public buses a part of the employer’s premises. Accordingly, the claimant had failed to prove that she was in the course and scope of her employment at the time of her injury.

 

 

The Court also agreed with the employer’s argument that the claimant had failed to establish that her injuries resulted from a condition of the employer’s premises. The claimant’s testimony established that she tripped over her own feet while walking in an elevator in the parking garage adjacent to the employer’s premises. The parking garage was deemed not an integral part of the employer’s business, so that it constituted a part of the employer’s premises, since it was (1) owned and operated by a third party, who was responsible for its control and maintenance, and (2) because the claimant was not required to park in the parking garage. Accordingly, the Court determined that claimant was not injured within the course and scope of her employment and reversed the granting of the claim petition.

 

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