An employee who was electrolysed at Dulles Airport outside of Washington, DC failed to prove that his injuries arose from his employment, Virginia Court of Appeals held Monday.
In a 2-1 decision in Donoghue v United Continental Holdings Inc. the court confirmed the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission, claiming that United Airlines Inc. employees' injuries were caused by "a god action "and not compensated according to the state's employment compensation act.
On August 1, 2011, Cary & # 39; Donoghue worked as a ramp officer loading and unloading aircraft when thunderstorms led to a temporary shutdown of the outdoor ramp. Later, the ramp was opened and the worker placed a metal ladder next to the Boeing 787 which just arrived to access the plane. He argued that as he moved the switch to open the load door, he felt that a blue arc came out of the control panel and felt that electricity was passing through his body. He told his supervisor that he had been struck by lightning and immediately sought medical treatment. The ramp was closed again due to weather conditions.
Later on, Don & Hue said that he didn't know the source of the electricity that hurt him and stated that there could have been static electricity from the ground or aircraft or a lightning strike. Deputy Commissioner noted that in Virginia "the mere existence of an injury due to a lightning strike at work is insufficient to invoke the Compensation Act and that an applicant must also prove that the conditions of employment co-operated in causing the injury" and the Commission unanimously rejected unanimous benefits.
Mr. Donoghue appealed, but the Virginia Court of Appeal in Alexandria confirmed the decision. The majority said that Virginia's case-law specifically involved in lightning forced it to establish that the Commission was not guilty of refusing to grant benefits. Under the established precedent, the Court claimed that the Commission was entitled to conclude that without "specific" evidence of the risks associated with the Donogue's mission, it could not assess whether the damage caused by a lightning strike was a real risk of the Conditions of his employment. .
Judge Glen Huff departed from the majority view, arguing that the Commission was wrongly legal when it was argued that Donoghue could not prove he suffered an injury "arising from his employment" because the cause of the electrocution was "speculative".
"I would invoke this matter to the whole Commission for rehearing with instructions that the plaintiff does not have to prove the exact mechanism of his electrocution to recover", he wrote in his opposite. "If the electrocution was caused by an incredible lightning strike, static discharge or an airplane failure, the applicant had no reason to touch the cargo door switch at that time when he would not require his employer."
Lawyers in the case did not respond promptly on request about comments.