Case name: Lowe v. Cox Paving, Inc., et al., No. CA2010-03-005 (Ohio Ct. App. 08/16/10).
Ruling: The Ohio Court of Appeals held that a worker injured in an assault at work was not entitled to compensation because he was the instigator of the fight.
What it means: In Ohio workers' compensation cases involving assaults at the workplace, courts focus on whether the origin of the assault was work-related and whether the worker was the instigator.
A worker was assaulted by a coworker at work during an argument involving buying beer. The coworker claimed that they both drank beer on their way to work, but the worker denied drinking that day. The worker was terminated for refusing to submit to a postaccident drug screen, among other things. The worker then filed a workers' compensation claim for injuries he suffered from the incident. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that the worker was not entitled to compensation.
The worker argued that he should be entitled to compensation because the assault took place at work. The court stated that the disagreement resulted from a personal dispute over beer and did not involve work-related matters.
The court stated that the worker had to prove that he was not the instigator of the assault. The worker claimed he did not remember the incident, but his brother told him the coworker threw something at him. The statement of the brother's perception was hearsay and not admissible. The coworker stated that the worker shoved him, and the fight escalated when the coworker retaliated and punched the worker in the face. The court found that the facts established that the worker was an instigator of the fight.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
November 15, 2010
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