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United Parcel Service of America v. Fetterman

336 S.E.2d 892 (1985)

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United Parcel Service of America v. Fetterman

Virginia Supreme Court

336 S.E.2d 892 (1985)

Facts

Randall Fetterman (plaintiff) sustained a lumbosacral strain during the course of his employment as a driver for United Parcel Service of America (UPS) (defendant). Fetterman’s duties included loading, unloading, and delivering packages weighing an average of 35 pounds. One day, as Fetterman unloaded packages from his truck to his handcart, he noticed that his right shoe was untied. Fetterman raised his foot to the back of the truck, bent over to tie the shoe, and felt acute pain in his lower back. Fetterman sought workers’ compensation from UPS for his injury. A deputy commissioner denied Fetterman’s claim for compensation. The deputy commissioner decided that Fetterman’s injury did not meet the requirement of arising out of his employment because Fetterman’s injury was not traceable to his employment as a contributing proximate cause and his injury did not follow as a natural incident of his work. The deputy commissioner concluded that Fetterman’s conduct in bending over to tie his shoe was not part of his employment duties, but rather was merely coincidental with his employment. Upon review, the full commission disagreed with the deputy commissioner’s reasoning and held that the work environment certainly had something to do with how Fetterman went about tying his shoe, and that tying his shoe was necessary for Fetterman to continue working. The full commission unanimously decided to award Fetterman workers’ compensation benefits. UPS and its insurance carrier appealed, arguing that the full commission erred.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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