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Clark v. Gates GMC Truck, Inc.

CASE NO. 1528 CRB-8-92-10

COMPENSATION REVIEW BOARD

WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION

JUNE 2, 1994

JOHN CLARK

CLAIMANT-APPELLANT

v.

GATES GMC TRUCK, INC.

EMPLOYER

and

AETNA CASUALTY & SURETY C0.

INSURER

RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES

APPEARANCES:

The claimant was represented by Robert M. Fitzgerald, Esq., 1127 Tolland Turnpike, Suite 101, Manchester, CT 06040; and Asselin & Associates, One Courthouse Square, Willimantic, CT 06226.

The respondents were represented by Jason M. Dodge, Esq., Pomeranz, Drayton & Stabnick, 95 Glastonbury Boulevard, Glastonbury, CT 06033-4412.

This Petition for Review from the September 25, 1992 Finding and Award (Dismissal) of the Commissioner for the Eighth District was heard October 29, 1993 before a Compensation Review Board panel consisting of the Commission Chairman Jesse Frankl and Commissioners George A. Waldron and Donald H. Doyle, Jr.

OPINION

JESSE FRANKL, CHAIRMAN. The claimant has petitioned for review of the Eighth District Commissioner’s September 25, 1992 Finding and Award (Dismissal). On appeal, the claimant challenges the trial commissioner’s conclusion that the claimant’s injury did not arise out of and during the course of his employment. We affirm the trial commissioner.

The claimant, a car salesman, was injured in a motor vehicle accident after work hours on the evening of November 23-24, 1990. The vehicle involved in the accident was given to the claimant by the respondent-employer as part of his employment.

The claimant contends that immediately prior to the accident he had been attempting to sell a vehicle to an acquaintance he met unexpectedly at a bar in Chaplin, Connecticut that night at the conclusion of an evening of drinking and dancing. According to the claimant, that sales effort involved giving the acquaintance a demonstration of the vehicle by driving it from the bar in Chaplin to a convenience store in Willimantic. The accident which is the subject of this claim occurred as the claimant was returning to the bar in Chaplin.

The claimant correctly identifies that the controlling law applicable to the facts of this case are stated in Dombach v. Olkon Coporation, 163 Conn. 216, 222 (1972): “An injury sustained on a public highway while going to or from work is ordinarily not compensable . . . . There are a number of exceptions to the ordinary rule . . .: (1) If the work requires the employee to travel on the highways; (2) where the employer contracts to furnish or does furnish transportation to and from work; (3) where, by the terms of his employment, the employee is subject to emergency calls and (4) where the employee is injured while using the highway in doing something incidental to his regular employment, for the joint benefit of himself and his employer, with the knowledge and approval of his employer.” As in Dombach, “[t]he critical question is whether the [claimant’s] use of the highways on the night in question could be considered as a benefit to the employer.” Id., 222-23.

In this regard, the trial commissioner found “that on the evening of November 23-24, 1990, the claimant was not selling or demonstrating a vehicle for the respondent-employer when he took the acquaintance for a ride to Willimantic and that at the time of the injury he was on a personal recreational trip to return to the [Bach Dor Cafe]... [and] that the claimant’s activities did not benefit the respondent-employer and that therefore the injuries that he suffered on November 23-24, 1990 as a result of the auto accident did not arise out of and during the course of his employment.” (Emphasis added.) Finding and Award, paragraph 45. Consequently, the commissioner concluded that none of the Dombach exceptions applied in this case.

As the conclusion reached from the facts found did not result from an incorrect application of the law or from inferences illegally or unreasonably drawn from those facts, the commissioner’s conclusion must stand. Fair v. People’s Savings Bank, 207 Conn. 535, 539 (1988).

We, therefore, affirm the trial commissioner and deny the appeal.

Commissioners George A. Waldron and Donald H. Doyle, Jr. concur.

Workers’ Compensation Commission

Page last revised: October 16, 2015

Page URL: http://wcc.state.ct.us/crb/1994/1528crb.htm

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State of Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission, John A. Mastropietro, Chairman
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