An Ohio appeals court ruled Tuesday that a worker was not entitled to an enhanced benefit for his injuries after being hit by a car because the accident did not occur in a “workshop.”
In 2018, Luis Ybarra worked for the vehicle transport company Cassens Corp. on the outdoor lot at the Chrysler Group Yard in Toledo, Ohio, and moved cars from the lot to a staging area where they would be loaded onto trucks or trains. The parking lot is enclosed by a fence with guarded gates for entry and exit and is not open to the public, according to State ex rel. Cassens Corp. v. Industrial Commissionin the Court of Appeals for the 10th District of Ohio, in Columbus.
After parking a new car in the parking lot, Ybarra went into the yard to pick up another car when he was hit from behind by another car driven by a colleague. The car had snow covering the window and the co-worker navigated by sticking his head out the window. The co-worker did not see Ybarra and violated a work rule that requires drivers to clear snow from windshields. He was later fired for his misconduct.
Ybarra was awarded workers̵7; compensation and later filed for an expanded award, alleging that the Cassens had violated a specific safety requirement in Ohio law that applies to “workshops” and “factories.” It requires all motor vehicle cabin glass to be safety glass or equivalent, with vision unimpaired by its condition.
A personnel hearing officer granted Ybarra the enhanced award, and after the Industrial Commission declined further administrative appeal, Cassen sought mandamus relief. A judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio recommended that the lawsuit be dismissed.
The appeals court adopted the judge’s findings of fact but rejected his analysis, ruling that Ohio jurisprudence has defined “workshop” as used in administrative code as “a room or place where power-driven machinery is used and manual labor is performed in the manner. trade for profit or Other.” There is also case law which states that an outdoor area can be a workshop if it is enclosed by a fence.
“Here, the portion of the Chrysler Group Yard facility in Toledo where Cassen’s employees are engaged in their duties is an outdoor warehouse where newly manufactured vehicles are stored pending transportation to dealers and other sellers,” the court said. . The commission relied on the fence around the lot to find it was a workshop, but the court said the presence of a perimeter fence does not automatically compel the conclusion that the lot is a workshop.
WorkCompCentral is a sister magazine to Business Insurance. More stories here.