Actions of crane operator, foreman don't entitle worker to extra comp
Bigge Crane & Rigging Co. v. Workers' Compensation Appeals Board, No. A127136 (Cal. Ct. App. 10/04/10).
Ruling: The California Court of Appeal held that a worker was not entitled to additional compensation based on the "serious and willful misconduct" of managing officers of his employer.
What it means: A worker in California can receive additional compensation when he is injured by the serious and willful misconduct of an executive, managing officer, or general superintendent of the employer.
Summary: A worker for a crane and rigging company was injured while helping to dismantle a truck crane. A boom section dropped onto the worker's lower leg and ankle because one of the sections was insufficiently supported. At the time of the accident, the operator was redirecting the ironworkers and was not aware that blocks were not in place under the section. The foreman had been called away to another area. The worker filed for additional compensation, alleging that his injury was caused by the serious and willful misconduct of the company based on the actions of the operator and foreman. The California Court of Appeal held that the worker was not entitled to additional compensation.
Contrary to the worker's arguments, the court concluded that the operator was not a "managing officer" of the employer. The court noted that the operator was told where to work and his specific task, but he was not told how to do his assigned task. He gave directions to five other employees. The court stated that a minor supervisory employee who provides direction to workers assigned to help with a specific task is not a "managing officer" of the company. The operator also did not have control over a substantial part of the employer's business.
The court also decided that the foreman's conduct did not constitute serious and willful misconduct even if he was a managing officer of the company. The foreman knew that the operator was experienced and immediately recognized that the ironworkers were out of sequence and corrected them. Furthermore, when the foreman was called away, the disassembly work had resumed, there were sufficient blocks available, and one section of the boom had already been blocked.
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January 3, 2011
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