Dec. 11 2015

Court of Appeals Issues Decisions

This week, the Court of Appeals issued decisions in two separate cases.

Rhame v. Charleston County

The Court of Appeals issued a decision in Rhame v. Charleston County School in which it held the statute of limitations in a repetitive injury case involving the lower back did not begin to run until the Claimant was so injured that he could no longer perform his job. The Claimant began experiencing intermittent low back pain in 1994-95, and sought medical treatment, which the Commission said started the SOL period running. The Court overturned the Commission’s finding on this point, despite noting evidence in the record that the Claimant was experiencing pain, knew that it came from his job and sought medical treatment, which would satisfy the test set out in King v. Int’l Knife & Saw. Here, the Court said the SOL period did not begin to run until 2009 when the Claimant suffered a back strain that left him unable to work. This case appears to be in conflict with its prior holding in King, which it did not mention at all in this opinion.

Wofford v. City of Spartanburg

The Court of Appeals upheld the Commission’s denial of benefits in the case Wofford v. City of Spartanburg based on the going and coming rule. The Decedent was the Superintendent of Parks and Recreation for the City. As such, he had a great deal of flexibility in his work hours and, although he had an office, worked out of various of the City’s recreation centers. The day of his fatal accident, he had driven from his apartment, in the opposite direction from Spartanburg, to visit his mother and pick up his motorcycle which he kept stored there. He had a couple of brief work-related conversions and texts while there, including one in which he agreed to pick up a key from one Parks and Recreation facility and take it to another. Around 11 a.m., he left his mother’s house and was driving his motorcycle to work when he was involved in an accident that resulted in his death. Claimants argued that his instruction/agreement to pick up the key from one Parks and Recr eation facility and take it to another brought him within either the 1) duty or errand, or 2) special task or mission exception to the going and coming rule. Fully affirming the Commission’s denial of benefits, the Court held that Wofford’s accident did not fall under either exception to the going and coming rule.

For questions or more information, please contact one of MGC’s attorneys.

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