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Moore v. Venture Corp.

Court of Appeals of Kansas

January 30, 2015

SHAWN MOORE, Appellee,
v.
VENTURE CORPORATION and TRAVELERS INDEMNITY CO., Appellants

Page 115

Appeal from Workers Compensation Board.

SYLLABUS

Caselaw interpreting the pre-2011 version of the Kansas Workers Compensation Act remains applicable when determining whether a worker's injury arose out of and in the course of employment or was the result of the normal activities of day-to-day living. Under Bryant v. Midwest Staff Solutions, Inc., 292 Kan. 585, 596, 257 P.3d 255 (2011), in determining whether an injury arose out of the course of employment, the primary question is whether the activity that resulted in the injury is connected to, or is inherent in, the performance of the job.

Vincent A. Burnett and Dallas L. Rakestraw, of McDonald Tinker, of Wichita, for appellants.

Melinda G. Young, of Bretz & Young, of Hutchinson, for appellee.

Before BUSER, P.J., LEBEN and STANDRIDGE, JJ.

OPINION

Page 116

Leben, J.

Shawn Moore injured his knee at his road-construction job, either when he stepped off a backhoe or shortly thereafter when walking around the backhoe. An administrative law judge denied his request for workers compensation, finding that his injury was the result of walking, which she considered a normal activity of day-to-day living not covered by the Workers Compensation Act. The Workers Compensation Appeals Board reversed, finding that Moore's injury arose out of and in the course of his employment because stepping down and walking around the backhoe were part of a single job task--operating a backhoe--that was not a normal activity of day-to-day living.

On appeal, we look at the overall context of the injury and see if the activity that resulted in it was connected to or inherent in performing the job. See Bryant v. Midwest Staff Solutions, Inc., 292 Kan. 585, 596, 257 P.3d 255 (2011). Here we find that substantial [51 Kan.App.2d 133] evidence supported the Board's finding. In this case, operating the backhoe was Moore's job duty, stepping down from and walking around the backhoe was part of the work required to operate the backhoe, and no evidence suggested that Moore's injury happened outside the time frame in which he was operating the backhoe. We therefore affirm the Board's decision that Moore's injury was covered under the Workers Compensation Act and not the result of a normal activity of day-to-day living.

Factual and Procedural Background

Moore worked for Venture Corporation as an equipment operator, running equipment like pavers and backhoes for road construction. Moore spent his workday " [d]igging holes, smoothing stuff out, [and] laying asphalt" and was " in and out of" equipment all day.

On October 15, 2011, Moore experienced pain in his right knee while at work. He had not previously had any problems with his knee. Doctors later discovered that he had a torn right meniscus and a torn anterior-cruciate ligament (ACL). Dr. Erik Severud surgically repaired Moore's torn ACL in December 2011.

The parties' arguments are based in part on the statements Moore gave over time about what happened. Later the same month that the events took place, he told Rachel Pratt, a claims adjuster with Travelers Insurance (Venture Corporation's insurance carrier), that he had twisted his knee while walking around a backhoe:

" [Pratt]: What happened?
" [Moore]: I just twisted my knee.
" [Pratt]: And what were you doing?
" [Moore]: Walking. I [Inaudible]. .. .
" [Pratt]: Where were you coming from?. .. .
" [Moore]:. .. I was just at work. I was getting off of a backhoe, and I walked around in front of the backhoe and, and that's, it just, I almost hit the ground. It just hurt.
" [Pratt]: So you were just. . .
" [Moore]: And it. . .
" [Pratt]:. .. walking? Did you slip over anything?. . .
" [Moore]: No, didn't step over anything, didn't step in a hole. I. ...

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