Injuries sustained by a golf club manager struck by a train on his way to fetch coffee cream are not compensable, the West Virginia Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a unanimous decision.
In Eisel v. City of South Charleston, the court confirmed the rejection of his claim by a claims administrator, finding that the evidence showed that his race was personal and that the accident did not occur in the course of and in the course of his employment.
Joseph Eisel ran a golf club run by the city of Charleston, West Virginia, and part of his job was to brew coffee for employees and customers. On August 10, 2018, he traveled to Kroger to buy coffee cream when he was struck by a train, injuring his skull, vertebrae, arm and ribs.
He filed a workers’ compensation claim, saying he regularly went to the grocery store during working hours to buy cream. The claims administrator dismissed his claim after reviewing statements signed by other people at the club that stated that Mr. Eisel had access to cream in the restaurant and that his run was personal as he preferred a particular brand and did not had never been reimbursed for such purchases.
However, the Workers Compensation Office of Judges ruled that the claim was compensable since Mr. Eisel considered this race to be part of his professional duties. The city appealed, and a review board overturned the judge’s office’s decision and reinstated the claims administrator’s rejection of the claim.
The state Supreme Court upheld the review board’s decision. The court agreed with the board that Mr. Eisel had ample access to the cream at work and was not authorized to make such purchases. Therefore, his race was rightly viewed as personal and his injuries did not occur within the scope and scope of his employment.