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Olsten of Richmond v. Leftwich

336 S.E.2d 893 (1985)

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Olsten of Richmond v. Leftwich

Virginia Supreme Court

336 S.E.2d 893 (1985)

Facts

In June 1982, Shirley Leftwich (plaintiff) was in a car accident and suffered a cervical and lumbar sprain. In September, Leftwich returned to her job as a customer representative at Olsten of Richmond (defendant). One weekend in January 1983, Olsten moved its offices to a new location. Leftwich reported for work on Monday, January 17, expecting to resume her regular duties. Although Leftwich wore her usual high-heel shoes, Olsten directed her and other employees to move and unpack the boxes. After moving and unpacking boxes for more than an hour, Leftwich suffered a sudden, severe pain in her back. Danna Kinard, Olsten’s branch manager and Leftwich’s supervisor, testified that as Leftwich began to lift a box off the floor, she screamed in pain, broke out in a sweat, and dropped the box. Leftwich could not stand, and she was placed on a stretcher and taken to a hospital, where she remained for five weeks. Dr. John Ayers, II, an orthopedic surgeon, diagnosed Leftwich with a severe lumbar sprain and believed that Leftwich’s work-related injury was an exacerbation of her previous car-accident injury. Dr. Herman Nachman, another orthopedist, examined Leftwich later and believed that Leftwich’s condition was the result of the workplace incident. A deputy commissioner denied Leftwich’s application for workers’ compensation benefits. Upon review, the full Industrial Commission found that Leftwich’s injury resulted from an accident during the course of employment and was caused by an exacerbation of a prior injury. The full Industrial Commission reversed the deputy’s decision and entered an award for Leftwich. Olsten and its insurer, Travelers Insurance Company (defendant) appealed, arguing that there was no evidence that Leftwich’s injury arose out of her employment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Poff, J.)

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