Executive's failure to log appointment nixes benefits for carjacking
Case name: DeFoyd v. Delta Corp., No. A-2134-10T1 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. 12/15/11, unpublished).
Ruling: In an unpublished decision, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division held that an executive was not entitled to benefits when he was carjacked.
What it means: In New Jersey, evidence that an employee was not engaged in work when he was assaulted by a carjacker will undermine his claim that the incident arose out of and in the course of his employment.
Summary: An outside account executive for an information technology consulting company claimed he planned to meet a prospective client for dinner at a restaurant. On his way to the meeting, he stopped to buy a bottle of water. When he returned to his car, a man opened the passenger door and beat him until he lost consciousness. When he regained consciousness, he exited the car and the carjacker drove off. The executive's company computer and files were in the car. The executive returned to work the next day and told his supervisor about the carjacking. Later, the company terminated him. The executive sought workers' compensation benefits. The New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division held that he was not entitled to benefits.
The executive argued that the carjacking arose out of and in the course of his employment. The court disagreed. The company's chief financial officer explained that when employees put an appointment into their laptop computers, the company's main server is updated with the information. The executive's calendar did not contain any meetings for the date of the accident.
Also, the executive's supervisor explained that it was not customary for workers to have dinner meetings with prospective clients without his prior approval. The supervisor confirmed that the prospective client's employer was already a client, and the executive did not handle the account. A coworker said that the executive told him he was carjacked while on the way to meet friends for dinner. The company also showed that the executive did not report the carjacking as a work-related incident, and he made contradictory statements about the incident.
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January 26, 2012
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