Gondek v. Easy Money Group, C.A. No.: N13A-04-008 FSS (Del. Super. Ct. Dec. 27, 2013).
The Industrial Accident Board denied Claimant’s Petition to Determine Compensation Due, concluding that her injury occurred outside the course and scope of her employment. On appeal, the Superior Court affirmed the Board’s decision.
Claimant was employed at a retail establishment on Concord Pike in Wilmington, Delaware. As part of her job duties, she frequently had to make bank deposits at a financial institution on Concord Pike in Wilmington, Delaware. On the date in question, after completing the bank deposit, Claimant was involved in a motor vehicle accident while traveling on Concord Pike.
Claimant filed a Petition to Determine Compensation Due, alleging that she was injured within the course and scope of employment and thus, she sustained a compensable work accident. Employer contested that the injury was work-related. The facts of the case were stipulated to by the parties and the matter came before the Board solely on whether the injury was sustained within the course and scope of employment.
At the Board, Claimant testified that she had made the bank deposit and was heading home when the accident occurred. Claimant contended that because she had not yet resumed her normal route home, when the accident occurred, that but for her work-related trip to the bank, the accident would not have occurred. In the alternative Claimant contended that the trip was covered under the “special errand” exception of the going and coming rule. Employer argued that the Claimant’s work-related duties had concluded with the completion of the bank deposit and Claimant was not continuing her work-related duties after she left the bank (she was not paid for this time, nor was she returning to the place of employment). Accordingly, Employer contended that the accident fit squarely within the going and coming rule of non-compensability.
The Board concluded that the accident was outside the course and scope of employment. Significantly, the Board made a factual finding that Claimant’s journey to the bank was a routine trip. The Board’s ruling was appealed to the Superior Court.
The Superior Court affirmed, holding that there was insufficient evidence under a contract interpretation to conclude that the journey was an essential element of the employment relationship and further that the journey did not have the requisite exigency to be subsumed with the “special errand” exception.