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Devers vs. Montana State Fund

Workers' Compensation Court of the State of Montana

Was Petitioner’s use of alcohol the major contributing cause of his accident?

IN THE WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA 2017 MTWCC 12
WCC No. 2016-3741.  KENNETH DEVERS vs. MONTANA STATE FUND.

Summary: Petitioner contends that he suffered a compensable injury because, although he drank before his accident, alcohol was not the major contributing cause of his accident, and his employers knew about his drinking and did not make a genuine attempt to stop it. Petitioner further claims his injury arose out of and in the course of his employment under the premises rule and the bunkhouse rule because he was a residential employee and on-call at all times. Respondent argues that given his lack of credibility and extent of intoxication, Petitioner’s use of alcohol was the major contributing cause of his accident. Respondent further argues that although Petitioner’s employers knew about his use of alcohol, their efforts to stop it were sufficient. Finally, Respondent contends that credible evidence shows that Petitioner’s injury did not arise out of and in the course of his employment.

Held: Respondent met its burden of proving that Petitioner’s use of alcohol was the major contributing cause of his accident. Moreover, Petitioner’s employer knew about and attempted to stop it. Therefore, Petitioner’s claim for benefits is barred under § 39-71- 407(5), MCA, and this Court declines to address whether Petitioner’s injury arose out of and in the course of his employment.

Judgment: Devers is not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits under § 39-71-407(5) and (7), MCA.

READ FULL DOCUMENT AT ORIGNAL SOURCE: http://wcc.dli.mt.gov/d/Devers_2017MTWCC12.pdf