Tuesday, November 27, 2007

City of Los Angeles v. WCAB (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 27, 2007)

This is a (somewhat) fact-specific opinion. So ordinarily I wouldn't mention it. Even though it does concern a somewhat important issue for the working public (including attorneys). Namely: What happens when you get killed (or injured) when you're getting some off-the-job training (e.g., MCLE, etc.)? Are you eligible for, say, worker's compensation benefits? How related does the "training" have to really be to your employment?

For example, here, the decedent was an accountant with the City of LA and was attending MCLE-like stuff for CPAs when he slipped, fell, and died. Worker's comp, or not?

The WCAB held, in a split decision, that his training was work-related, and hence that plaintiff was entitled to benefits. But the Court of Appeal unanimously reverses.

I wonder, however, if the result in the Court of Appeal might have been different with a single change in the facts. A fact that is totally legally irrelevant, but which nonetheless -- in my view -- may have provided color to the underlying dispute and pushed the panel to decide that the training wasn't work-related. That single irrelevant fact being the location of the "training" conference:

Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Oh, yeah. I'm sure that was totally business-related. 100%. No way to get that training any place closer than Los Angeles, I'm sure.