An Ohio appellate court held that a traveling employee did not suffer an injury in the course of or as a result of his employment when he fell in a restaurant parking lot while eating lunch with a colleague.
Durbin Kerr worked for OhioHealth Corp. as a social worker in the hospice department, a job that required him to travel to see patients, according to Kerr v. OhioHealth Corp.into the Court of Appeals for the 10th District of Ohio in Columbus.
Mr Kerr drove his personal vehicle to visit four or five patients a day. OhioHealth reimbursed him for mileage and provided him with a cell phone and laptop computer.
On January 25, 2019, Kerr and a chaplain drove for the hospice to visit patients. After finishing their meetings in the morning, they decided to have lunch at a restaurant that was on the way to the next meeting.
Mr. Kerr slipped and fell on ice in the restaurant̵7;s parking lot. After lunch, Kerr went to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with a concussion and a fractured right wrist.
A district hearing officer denied his claim for workers’ compensation, a personnel hearing officer affirmed, and the Industrial Commission declined to consider any further administrative appeals.
Mr. Kerr then filed a complaint in a trial court, claiming he was entitled to workers’ compensation for the injuries he sustained in the fall.
A trial judge granted summary judgment for OhioHealth, finding that Mt. Kerr’s injuries did not occur during and scope of his employment, as required by law.
The appeals court agreed, writing: “Kerr was not provided with a formal lunch hour by OhioHealth. OhioHealth did not reimburse Kerr for lunch, Kerr did not deduct her lunches as a business expense, and OhioHealth had no policies regarding where Kerr could eat lunch,” the court noted.
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