Board should not have considered director's management of funds
Case name: Mosley v. Gateway House Inc., No. N10A-09-012 (MJB) (Del. Super. Ct. 09/13/11).
The Delaware Superior Court reversed the Industrial Accident Board's decision concluding that a director's injuries were sustained outside the course and scope of his employment because it considered highly prejudicial evidence of little probative value.
What it means: In Delaware, the board cannot consider evidence that is highly prejudicial and of little probative value in determining whether a worker was in the course and scope of his employment when he was injured.
Summary: The executive director for an organization that provided services for homeless men was severely injured in a motor vehicle accident after leaving a restaurant. He claimed he was meeting an employee at the restaurant to discuss a grant the organization had been awarded. The parties disputed whether the director was within the scope of his employment when he was injured. In its decision finding his injuries were sustained outside the course and scope of his employment, the Industrial Accident Board considered evidence relating to the director's personal relationship with the employee and allegations that the director was not a good employee and may have mismanaged the organization's funds. The Delaware Superior Court reversed the board's decision, finding that it considered highly prejudicial and irrelevant evidence.
The director argued that the board should not have considered evidence about his relationship with the employee, including testimony related to a conference they attended, room assignments, and how many conference sessions the employee attended. He said there was no proof of an intimate relationship and that the evidence was irrelevant. The court disagreed, finding that the evidence could show whether the meeting at the restaurant was personal or within the scope of the director's employment.
The court found that evidence regarding allegations of the director's mismanagement of the organization's funds was highly prejudicial and should not have been considered. The court said the evidence distracted the board from the central issue.
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October 13, 2011
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