McKeever v. N.J. Bell Telephone Co.

179 N.J. Super. 29 (1981)

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McKeever v. N.J. Bell Telephone Co.

New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division
179 N.J. Super. 29 (1981)

Facts

Mr. McKeever worked as an attorney for New Jersey Bell Telephone Company (New Jersey Bell) (defendant). Mr. McKeever died after being in a car accident that occurred while he was driving home after his shift. Mr. McKeever’s briefcase, which was with him when the accident occurred, contained material related to a work matter he was working on during office hours. Mr. McKeever often brought work home with him, so much so that he had a desk with a little library in his bedroom. After Mr. McKeever’s death, his widow, Eileen McKeever (plaintiff), filed a workers’-compensation claim seeking compensation for her husband’s death. Mr. McKeever’s supervisor, attorney Edward Evans, testified that he was aware that Mr. McKeever was taking work home with him. Based on Evans’s testimony, it was clear that tremendous amounts of reading were assigned, which employees often had to do outside of work hours in order to perform their assigned tasks with professionalism. Mr. McKeever worked 50 hours per week in the office and still needed to take work home. The evidence showed that Mr. McKeever was facing a deadline in an antitrust case when he died, and an antitrust book was on his desk in his bedroom. A workers’-compensation judge ruled that although Mr. McKeever had work material with him that he planned to read at home after work hours, this fact was insufficient to find that his death originated with or occurred within the course of his employment. The judge dismissed Eileen’s claim, and she appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fritz, J.)

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