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Professional Financial Services v. Gordon

Court of Appeals of Kentucky

June 8, 2018

PROFESSIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICES APPELLANT
v.
SERENA GORDON; HON. ROLAND CASE, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE;WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD APPELLEES

          PETITION FOR REVIEW OF A DECISION OF THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION BOARD ACTION NO. WC-13-92143

          BRIEF FOR APPELLANT: Ian Matthew Godfrey Lexington, Kentucky

          BRIEF FOR APPELLEE, SERENA GORDON: Paula Gay Richardson Owingsville, Kentucky

          BEFORE: COMBS, D. LAMBERT, AND JOHNSON, JUDGES.

          OPINION

          LAMBERT, D., JUDGE.

         Professional Financial Services (PFS) appeals from the March 31, 2017 opinion of the Workers' Compensation Board (the Board). The Board upheld the decision of Hon. R. Roland Case, Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), to award Serena Gordon disability and medical benefits. After review, we affirm.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Serena Gordon left work one night in February 2013. Upon arriving at her parked car, she realized she had left her employer-issued tablet in her office. Serena walked back into her work building and retrieved the tablet. As she returned to her car, with the tablet, she fell and injured her leg.

         PFS initially accepted that the injury was compensable, but later denied Serena's workplace injury claim once it determined her injury did not occur on its business premises. The matter was heard before the ALJ.

         The ALJ agreed with PFS in that Serena's injury did not happen on the business premises. The ALJ also found that PFS neither owned the parking lot where the injury occurred nor directed Serena where to park. Nevertheless, the ALJ ultimately ruled the injury was compensable because Serena returned to her car with the tablet and intended to continue her work once she got home.

         On appeal to the Board, PFS argued that the ALJ failed to adequately support his ultimate decision. PFS noted that the ALJ only included one case citation in his opinion, Phil Hollenbach Co. v. Hollenbach, 181 Ky. 262, 204 S.W. 152 (1918), and further claimed the ALJ failed to sufficiently explain how the injury was work-related, especially considering Kentucky's traditional rule that injuries sustained when workers are coming and going from work are not compensable. The Board rejected these arguments, however, and concluded that the ALJ provided enough analysis to justify the benefits award under Receveur Const. Company/Realm, Inc. v. Rogers, 958 S.W.2d 18 (Ky. 1997). This appeal followed.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         For appellate purposes, an opinion from the Board will only be reversed if it misconstrued the applicable law or committed a flagrant error in evaluating the evidence. Western Baptist Hospital v. Kelly, 827 S.W.2d 685, 687-88 (Ky. 1992). We will defer to decisions supported by substantial evidence. Wolf Creek Collieries v. Crum, 673 S.W.2d 735, 736 (Ky. App. 1984).

         III. ...


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