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Judges uphold dismissal of suit filed after fall at work

March 8, 2012

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of a couple’s complaint for injuries and loss of consortium for subject matter jurisdiction, finding the woman’s injuries sustained while at her work fall squarely within the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Act.

In Gladys E. Curry and Thomas Curry v. D.A.L.L. Anointed, Inc., No. 45A04-1106-CT-290, Gladys Curry, an employee of a McDonald’s franchise, went to work on her day off for a meeting. She arrived early to eat beforehand. After eating in the outdoor dining area, where other employees had gathered before the meeting, she tripped over something on the ground and got hurt. D.A.L.L. Anointed, the owner of the McDonald’s, requested Curry be treated by a physician selected by its workers’ compensation insurer. All medical bills related to her treatment were paid by D.A.L.L.’s insurer, and she received wage payments from the insurer.

Curry and her husband, Thomas, later filed a complaint seeking damages for the injuries sustained by Gladys Curry and for the medical expenses incurred by Thomas Curry for her care and his related loss of consortium claim. The trial court eventually dismissed the complaint with prejudice pursuant to Indiana Trial Rule 12(B)(1).

The issue is whether Gladys Curry’s injuries arose out of her employment.

“The connection between D.A.L.L.’s interest in improving the business by holding employee meetings and Gladys’s presence on the premises as an employee waiting for the meeting to begin, places jurisdiction of her claim for compensation for injuries sustained while on those premises squarely within the Act,” wrote Judge James Kirsch.

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