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Atkins v. Webcon And Kansas Building Industry Workers Compensation Fund

Supreme Court of Kansas

June 8, 2018

Jesse J. Atkins, Appellant,
v.
Webcon and Kansas Building Industry Workers Compensation Fund, Appellees.

         SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

         1.

         Although the interpretation or construction of the Kansas Workers Compensation Act, K.S.A. 44-501 et seq., is a question of law, once the interpretation or construction has occurred, the ultimate question of whether an accident arose out of and in the course of employment is a question of fact.

         2.

         An injury happens in the course of employment when it occurs within the period of the employment, at a place where the employee reasonably may be, and while the employee is fulfilling work duties or engaged in doing something incidental to those duties.

         Review of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished opinion filed January 22, 2016.

          Appeal from the Workers Compensation Board.

          Melinda G. Young, of Bretz & Young, of Hutchinson, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellant.

          Roy T. Artman, general counsel, Kansas Building Industry Workers Compensation Fund, argued the cause and was on the brief for appellees.

          STEGALL, J.

         In the early morning hours of June 16, 2009, Jesse J. Atkins was walking from a bar to his hotel when he was hit by a drunk driver. He suffered catastrophic injuries. At the time, Atkins was a laborer working an out-of-town roofing job. Atkins sought workers compensation benefits, but the Workers Compensation Board denied compensation, finding Atkins' injuries did not arise out of and in the course of his employment. The Court of Appeals affirmed. We hold substantial evidence supports the Board's decision to deny benefits.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         The relevant facts in this case are not in dispute. Atkins worked for Webcon, Inc. as a general laborer. Webcon was a Hutchinson-based commercial roofing company. It employed multiple work crews and contracted for both local and out-of-state jobs. Crew members were paid hourly and would receive a small bonus if they finished the job on time.

         At the time of his injuries, Atkins was working on a crew that was reroofing a grain elevator in Enid, Oklahoma. Webcon expected it would take several months to complete the job. Atkins was considered part of Webcon's "core group" of laborers who were typically assigned to large or difficult projects. For this job, the crew would meet on Monday mornings at Webcon's premises, load into company trucks, and travel to Enid for the week. The crew returned to Hutchinson on Friday afternoons. They were paid while traveling between Hutchinson and Enid. Although crew members were ostensibly permitted to drive their ...


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