Case name: Wining v. Unique Ventures Group, LLC, No. 10 MA 111 (Ohio Ct. App. 05/18/11).
The Ohio Court of Appeals held that a restaurant manager's widow was entitled to benefits because he was on a special mission for his employer when he was killed.
What it means:
In Ohio, a worker may be entitled to benefits under the special mission exception to the coming and going rule if the sole reason for his being on the road was to travel to his workplace to perform a substantially important function of his job.
An associate manager for a restaurant was killed in a motor vehicle accident while driving to his workplace on his day off. A coworker lost her keys to the restaurant and had arranged to share the manager's keys. Around midnight, the coworker called the manager at home asking if he left his keys for her to close the restaurant. The manager told the coworker he would return to the restaurant to bring his keys to her. The manager's widow sought death benefits. The Ohio Court of Appeals held that the manager was entitled to benefits.
The parties argued whether the special mission exception to the coming and going rule applied. The court said that in order for the exception to apply, the mission must be a major factor in the journey. The coworker said that locking the restaurant was a substantially important job function. The restaurant's director of operations said the restaurant should have acted quickly to get a replacement key for the coworker. The manager's job description included the responsibility of "security measures and adherence to safety requirements." The court said that the sole reason for the manager's driving was to deliver the keys to his coworker so she could lock the restaurant. The court concluded that the manager was on a special mission when he was killed.
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July 7, 2011
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