Case Law Update | Simko v WCAB | PA Job Injury Attorneys

October 17, 2014

Simko v WCAB (United States Steel Corporation-Edgar Thomson Work), __ A.3d __ (Pa. Cmwlth. No. 829 C.D. 2014, filed October 17, 2014).

 

The claimant filed a claim petition after being involved in a MVA while traveling to work to attend a meeting. The employer would hold two types of safety meetings: (1) regularly scheduled monthly safety meetings and (2) stand-down meetings (“SDM”), when serious accidents or fatalities had occurred. The claimant alleged that he was on his way to a  “more mandatory” SDM meeting at the time of his injury vs. a monthly safety meeting, so that his injury fell within the “special mission” exception to the coming and going rule. 

 

The course and scope issue was bifurcated and the WCJ found that Claimant was in the course and scope of employment at the time of his injury because he met the “special mission” exception to the coming and going rule. The claimant ultimately prevailed on the merits of the claim petition. On Appeal, the Board reversed and the Commonwealth Court affirmed the Board’s Opinion. 

 

The Court reasoned that if an employer requires its employees to attend meetings, as part of the employee’s regular job duties, traveling to or from the meeting is not a special mission so as qualify as an exception to the “coming and going rule.” Here, the claimant had not refuted fact witness testimony that SDM content had simply been incorporated into a regularly scheduled monthly meeting, which claimant admitted that he was required to attend. Even if the SDM content had not been incorporated, the claimant would still have been required to attend the regularly scheduled meeting. Accordingly, the special circumstances exception did not apply.

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