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Gravette v. Visual Aids Electronics, et al.

August 5, 2020

Claimant, at the time of his injury, was an employee of Visual Aids Electronics.  Visual Aids Electronics is in the business of providing certain audio visual equipment and technical staff to set up and service said equipment to hotels and convention centers.  At the time of his injury, Claimant was staying and working at a hotel for a period of several days on behalf of his employer.  On the date in question, Claimant worked from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. as an audio visual technician for his employer at the hotel.  
Later that evening, Claimant, while off duty, entered a nightclub within the hotel.  While dancing, Claimant fell and sustained injury.  Subsequently, Claimant filed a workers’ compensation claim.  The Workers’ Compensation Commission concluded that Claimant did not sustain an accidental injury arising out of and in the course of employment. An appeal followed and the Circuit Court affirmed, noting that as a traveling employee, the act of going to a nightclub and dancing, as opposed to showering or eating in a hotel restaurant, was not “reasonably incidental to the travel required by the employer.” 
On appeal, the Court of Special Appeals, in a reported Opinion, reversed the trial court.  The court, relying on the positional risk test, held that a traveling employee who is engaged in reasonable and foreseeable recreational activities when injured, is entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits for his injuries because such recreational activities are “reasonably incident to travel.”  The court determined that Claimant was engaged in reasonable and foreseeable recreational activities, when he was dancing in the same hotel where he was working and staying on behalf of his employer.