Articles & Updates

Jason Pope v. Gateway to the West Harley Davidson

by Sarah Kraft

Facts: Claimant worked as an entry-level technician for Gateway to the West Harley Davidson. On March 17, 2010 Pope descended a small staircase wearing his work boots and carrying a motorcycle helmet when he fell fracturing his ankle.

After the claimant filed a workers’ compensation claim, the case was heard before ALJ Suzette Carlisle. ALJ Carlisle determined that the Claimant’s accident did not arise out of the course and scope of employment since he was equally exposed to the hazards descending stairs while wearing boots and carrying a helmet while outside of work.

The Labor and Industrial Commission disagreed and awarded the Claimant benefits. In their Award, the Commission concluded that the activity in question (walking down steps while wearing boots and carrying a helmet) created a clear connection between the hazard and the injury.

Employer and Insurer appealed the Commission’s Award to the Eastern District of the Missouri Court of Appeals.

Finding: The Eastern District affirmed the Commission decision. In coming to its conclusion, the Court explained one must look at the risk source of the injury (walking down steps wearing boots and carrying a helmet) and determine if this is a risk the Claimant is equally exposed in his non-employment life. The Court found that there was a casual connection to the employment and that the Claimant was not equally exposed to the hazard in his non-employment life. The Court distinguished this case from Miller and Johme explaining that Pope was injured at work because he was performing work activities.