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Assault damages are compensable but additional claims excluded: court



Injuries suffered by a man in an employee's assault are compensable, but his claim for damages is prohibited by the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act, an appeals court ruled Tuesday. The Transit Authority the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, upheld a district court ruling that the Metro Worker's injuries occurred as a result of and during his employment, and dismissed his liability against his employer.

Teshome Workagegnehu and Martin Van Buren were working at a subway station kiosk when a customer contacted them for help. Mr Van Buren swore at the customer and sent him away, according to court documents. Mr. Workagegnehu volunteered to help the customer use the SparTrip vending machine, which he was instructed to maintain that day.

Mr. Van Buren told him that it was not Workagegnehus' responsibility to help customers. After a brief verbal exchange, Van Buren stopped his co-worker and continued to do so until Workagegnehu was unconscious. Police arrived and Van Buren was arrested and later convicted of assault.

Mr. Workagegnehu demanded hospitalization for his injuries and applied for compensation to workers who were denied. He then filed a complaint against the subway and his boss for assault and battery as well as intentional supply of emotional distress.

The two parties provided compensation for workers' compensation, but Mr. Workagegnehus' complaint against Metro and his boss was dismissed by a district court, which found that the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act prevented his claim because his injury was due to his employment. Workagegnehu appealed.

The Court of Appeal upheld the district court's decision and dismissed the case.

The court noted that Van Buren directed his attack on Workagegnehu as an employee, not out of personal motivation, which made his claim compensable under the Complex Act. The fact that Mr Workagegnehu had already agreed to compensation for workers and stipulated that his injuries arose from a work-related incident "reinforces our conclusion", the law court said. Catalog

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