A woman who was bitten by her co-worker's dog cannot pursue her negligence allegations because they are excluded from the exclusive action in the Texas Workers' Compensation Act.
In Robinson v. Cox Texas Court of Appeals, Second District of Fort Worth on Thursday, a court of law upheld the decision to dismiss the worker's allegations after finding that the dog owner was within the scope of her employment when she took her dog to work.
Kyra Robinson worked for the Gladney Center for Adoption in Fort Worth, Texas, as a house parent. One day when she was at work, she was bitten by a border collie on the premises owned by her co-worker Heidi Bruegel Cox, who served as the center's general counsel and vice president.
Ms. Robinson filed workers compensation for damages related to her dog bite, which was granted. She then lodged a complaint against Mrs Cox due to strict liability and gross negligence. Ms Cox refused a summary judgment on the grounds that Ms Robinson's claims were prohibited by the exclusive action in the Texas Workers' Compensation Act, which was granted by a court.
Ms. Robinson appealed, arguing that the act of bringing her collie, Jackson, to the workplace did not occur in the context of Mrs Cox's employment and that her action was therefore not precluded by the exclusive remedy.
The Court of Appeal disagreed and upheld the Court's decision in favor of Mrs Cox. The court noted that Cox was employed by Gladney on the day of the incident, and she testified that she brought her dog to work at the request of midwives and several others in the center, saying Jackson had previously served as a comfort dog for some of Gladney's clients.
According to the law, the exclusive provision of action extends to "an agent or employee of the employer", noting that Mrs Robinson claimed that her receipt of benefits for workers extended the law exclusively to remedy defenses against Mrs Cox.
Although Mrs Robinson argued that Mrs Cox had to prove that the act of bringing her dog was in support of Gladney's activities to establish the defense, the court found that her act of bringing the dog at the request of others sufficiently established that she was within the scope and scope of her employment when Robinson was a piece of her dog.