AOE / COECase BriefInjury Occurring While at Public Transit Terminal Not Compensable

March 10, 20160

LINDSAY vs. LOS ANGELES COUNTY

METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

(2015) 2015 Cal. Wrk. Comp. P.D. Lexis 561

Applicant claimed injuries as a result of slipping and falling in Union Station as he was on his way home on the evening of September 25, 2014. Applicant was employed as a systems analyst for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). Union Station is owned by the MTA. Defendant denied the claim based on the “going and coming rule”.

Following trial on the AOE/COE issue, the Workers’ Compensation Judge found that the claim was not barred based on the “premises line” and “travel expense” exception to the going and coming rule. The Workers’ Compensation Judge relied on the fact that the train station was owned by the MTA, comparing it to an injury occurring in the employer’s parking lot. Also, because the applicant’s public transportation costs were partially subsidized by the employer, the Workers’ Compensation Judge determined that he was being compensated for his travel.

The defendant filed a Petition for Reconsideration which was granted. The Board noted that while the Union Station property was owned by the MTA, it is managed by the Joint Management Council and an asset management company. The MTA was not involved in any of the day-to-day management or operations of the station.

Also, the employee’s injuries occurred after he had completed his work, left his place of employment and was on his way home. Even though the employer subsidized his public transportation ticket (in order to encourage employees to utilize public transit), he was not paid for his commute and was not on any special mission or errand. The applicant’s use of the train station placed the applicant at no greater risk of injury than any other member of the public.

Therefore, the claim was barred by the going and coming rule.

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