Process Equipment, Inc. v. Quinn

Decision Date14 March 1997
Citation701 So.2d 29
PartiesPROCESS EQUIPMENT, INC. v. William Arthur QUINN and Monica Elaine Green, as dependent widow of Charles Stanley Green, deceased. 2950809.
CourtAlabama Court of Civil Appeals

Linda Winkler Pope of Wainwright & Pope, P.C., Birmingham, for appellant.

William B. Lloyd of Pate, Lewis, Lloyd, Fuston & Cochrun, Birmingham, for appellees.

L. CHARLES WRIGHT, Retired Appellate Judge.

William Arthur Quinn and Monica Elaine Green, the widow of Charles Stanley Green, filed a complaint in the Jefferson County Circuit Court against Process Equipment, Inc. Quinn sought workers' compensation benefits, alleging that he suffered injuries to his head, back, arm, hand, abdomen, and pelvis in a June 16, 1994, automobile accident. Quinn alleged that his injuries arose out of and in the course of his employment. Monica sought workers' compensation death benefits and burial expenses, alleging that her husband died in the June 16, 1994, automobile accident. The employer answered, denying that Quinn and Green's accident arose out of and in the course of their employment.

Following oral proceedings, the trial court entered a judgment, finding that Quinn and Green's June 16, 1994, accident occurred during their travel from a job site in Virginia to Birmingham and that Quinn and Green's travel arose out of and in the course of their employment. The trial court specifically found that Quinn and Green were returning to Birmingham to "get paid and be ready for a new job assignment." The trial court also found that Quinn had suffered a 20% permanent partial disability. The trial court further found that Monica and her and Green's two minor children were dependent and entitled to death benefits and burial expenses. The trial court awarded benefits accordingly.

The employer appeals, contending that Quinn and Green's automobile accident did not arise out of and in the course of their employment and that the trial court erred in awarding Quinn and Monica workers' compensation benefits.

Quinn's injuries and Green's death occurred on June 16, 1994; therefore, the new Workers' Compensation Act is controlling. The standard of review of a workers' compensation case under the new Act was stated by our supreme court in Ex parte Trinity Industries, Inc., 680 So.2d 262 (Ala.1996):

"[W]e will not reverse the trial court's finding of fact if that finding is supported by substantial evidence--if that finding is supported by 'evidence of such weight and quality that fair-minded persons in the exercise of impartial judgment can reasonably infer the existence of the fact sought to be proved.' "

680 So.2d at 268-69 (quoting West v. Founders Life Assurance Co., 547 So.2d 870, 871 (Ala.1989)). See also § 25-5-81(e), Ala.Code 1975.

As a general rule, accidents that occur while an employee is driving to or from work are not considered to arise out of and in the course of one's employment. Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. v. Smallwood, 516 So.2d 716 (Ala.Civ.App.1987). However, there are several well-established exceptions to the general rule. Id.

In the case where an employee is injured or killed as the result of an accident while traveling to or from work, if the employer furnished the transportation or reimbursed the employee's expenses, or if the employee is engaged in some duty in connection with his or her employment at home or in route, this court has held that such an accident arises out of and in the course of the employee's employment and is compensable. Minor v. Alabama Specialties, Inc., 598 So.2d 938 (Ala.Civ.App.1992); Worthington v. Moore, 563 So.2d 617 (Ala.Civ.App.1990); Patterson v. Whitten, 57 Ala.App. 297, 328 So.2d 301 (Ala.Civ.App.1976).

The record reveals the following facts: The employer is in the business of designing and manufacturing industrial fans for paper mills, utilities, and cement plants. The employer also contracts with various paper mills, utilities, and cement plants to repair or refurbish industrial fans. The employer has "in house" employees, who work in its plants, and "field crew" employees, who travel to various plants to repair or refurbish industrial fans. "In house" employees receive an hourly wage and benefits, such as health insurance and paid vacations. "Field crew" employees are paid a higher hourly wage than "in house" employees; therefore, they do not receive benefits. In 1994 "field crew" employees received travel expenses of $15 per hour one way to a job site, and they received a per diem of $2.36 per hour while at a job site more than three hours away from Birmingham. "Field crew" employees were paid each Friday at one of the employer's plants; they received a paycheck and a check for travel expenses.

During their employment Quinn and Green were welders and "field crew" employees. On June 11, or 12, 1994, Charles Atkinson, a supervisor for the employer, notified Quinn and Green by telephone that the employer had a job at a Union Camp paper mill in Franklin, Virginia; that beginning June 14, 1994, they would be working the 12-hour night shift at that facility; and that the job would take approximately six days to...

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4 cases
  • Arvinmeritor, Inc. v. Handley
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • 16 d5 Novembro d5 2007
    ...Co., 883 So.2d 227 (Ala.Civ.App.2003); Oliver v. Faulkner Wood Co., 531 So.2d 675 (Ala.Civ.App. 1988); and Process Equipment, Inc. v. Quinn, 701 So.2d 29 (Ala.Civ.App.1997); see also 2 Larson & Larson, Larson's Workers' Compensation Law § The Arvin representative testified that Handley was ......
  • Britt v. Shelby County Health Care Auth.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • 13 d5 Abril d5 2001
    ...for purposes of workers' compensation law. See Hughes v. Decatur Gen. Hosp., 514 So.2d 935 (Ala.1987); Process Equip., Inc. v. Quinn, 701 So.2d 29 (Ala.Civ.App.1997). This principle is known as the "going-and-coming rule." See A. Larson, Larson's Workers' Compensation Law § 13.01 (2000). As......
  • ArvinMeritor, Inc. v. Handley, No. 2050951 (Ala. Civ. App. 6/27/2008)
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • 27 d5 Junho d5 2008
    ...883 So. 2d 227 (Ala. Civ. App. 2003); Oliver v. Faulkner Wood Co., 531 So. 2d 675 (Ala. Civ. App. 1988); and Process Equipment, Inc. v. Quinn, 701 So. 2d 29 (Ala. Civ. App. 1997); see also 2 Larson & Larson, Larson's Workers' Compensation Law § The Arvin representative testified that Handle......
  • Barrett v. Lee Brass Co.
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • 12 d5 Dezembro d5 2003
    ...heavily upon the decisions of this court in Oliver v. Faulkner Wood Co., 531 So.2d 675 (Ala.Civ.App. 1988), and Process Equipment, Inc. v. Quinn, 701 So.2d 29 (Ala.Civ.App.1997), in arguing that her husband's death occurred in the course of his employment. For the reasons explained below, w......

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