Dixon v. U.S. Air Reservation Group

764 A.2d 635 (2000)

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Dixon v. U.S. Air Reservation Group

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court
764 A.2d 635 (2000)

Facts

Glenda Dixon (plaintiff) was a unit supervisor at U.S. Air Reservation Group (U.S. Air) (defendant), located on the fifth floor of an office building. As a unit supervisor, Dixon did not have a set schedule for lunch. If Dixon could not take a regular lunch break, she could order takeout lunch from one of the two restaurants located on the first floor of the building. Dixon was required to be present in the office throughout her shift, and she would often be approached by agents when she ate in the lunchroom. On November 27, 1996, Dixon went from the fifth floor to the first floor to pick up a Chinese takeout lunch because she was unable to take a regular lunch break. As Dixon was leaving the Chinese restaurant with her lunch, she slipped on a wet floor tile and suffered multiple injuries. Despite the pain Dixon was experiencing, she worked until December 2. On December 3, Dixon’s physician advised U.S. Air in a medical report that Dixon was unable to return to work as a result of her injuries. Dixon returned to work at U.S. Air part-time in February 1997, but her injuries worsened, and she stopped working completely on April 14. Dixon filed a petition for workers’ compensation. At the hearing, a unit supervisor testified that a supervisor could pick up takeout food and still not be in lunch-break status. The workers’-compensation judge (WCJ) awarded total- and partial-disability benefits, finding that Dixon suffered her injuries in furtherance of U.S. Air’s business. The WCJ found that Dixon’s injuries arose in the course of her employment because she was required to be in the area of the building when she was injured, and her injuries were caused by the condition of the building, which was occupied and controlled by U.S. Air. The Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (the board) affirmed the decision of the WCJ. U.S. Air and its insurance carrier, Sedgewick Claims National Services (defendant), appealed the board’s decision, arguing that Dixon’s injury did not arise in the course of her employment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mirarchi, J.)

Dissent (McGinley, J.)

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