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CHARITY STEPHENS v. MONTANA ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES

Workers' Compensation Court of the State of Montana

Is employer responsible for injury at a health fair event?

IN THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA 2016 MTWCC 16
WCC No. 2015-3587 CHARITY STEPHENS, Petitioner vs. MONTANA ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES Respondent/Insurer. FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND JUDGMENT

Summary: Petitioner, an EMT with an ambulance service, suffered an injury while running an obstacle course at a health fair. Although her employer did not pay Petitioner to attend, Petitioner contended that her employer required or requested her attendance and that her supervisor directed her to compete on the obstacle course. Respondent argues that Petitioner was participating in a recreational or social activity not within the course of her employment at the time of her accident and injury.

Held: Petitioner’s employer did not require her to attend the health fair. Although Petitioner’s employer asked her to assume duties for the activity so that her presence was not wholly voluntary, her employer did not “request” her presence at the activity, as that term is defined in § 39-71-407(2)(b), MCA, because her injury did not occur in the performance of the duties her employer asked her to assume. Although Petitioner contended that her supervisor directed her to participate in the obstacle course on which she was injured, this Court did not find that portion of her testimony credible. Since Petitioner’s accident did not occur within the course of the duties her employer asked her to assume, her injury did not occur within the course of her employment under § 39-71- 407(2)(b), MCA.

Judgement: Stephens was not injured in the course of her employment under § 39-71- 407(2)(b), MCA. Stephens is not entitled to her attorney fees, a penalty, or costs.

READ FULL DOCUMENT AT ORIGNAL SOURCE: http://wcc.dli.mt.gov/s/Stephens_2016MTWCC16.pdf