Walker v. Friendly Village of Brevard, No. 89-517

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtNIMMONS
Citation559 So.2d 258
Decision Date21 March 1990
Docket NumberNo. 89-517
Parties15 Fla. L. Weekly D785 Walter WALKER, Appellant, v. FRIENDLY VILLAGE OF BREVARD and United Self Insured Services, Appellees.

Page 258

559 So.2d 258
15 Fla. L. Weekly D785
Walter WALKER, Appellant,
v.
FRIENDLY VILLAGE OF BREVARD and United Self Insured Services, Appellees.
No. 89-517.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
First District.
March 21, 1990.
Rehearing Denied April 23, 1990.

Daniel P. Faherty of Cianfrogna, Telfer & Reda, P.A., Titusville, for appellant.

Jamie H. McWilliams of Langston, Hess & Daniels, P.A., Maitland, for appellees.

Page 259

NIMMONS, Judge.

Claimant seeks review of a workers' compensation order denying the compensability of his claim for benefits. We reverse.

On October 27, 1987, claimant sustained a heart attack while he was working for his employer. A claim for benefits was filed in January 1988. The hearing conducted on the claim was restricted to the issue of compensability, i.e., whether claimant sustained an accident in the course and scope of his employment.

At the hearing, the 56-year-old claimant testified that he had returned to the work force in August 1987 after being voluntarily unemployed since August 1985, when he left employment as a construction superintendent in Orlando, Florida. According to claimant, this two-year hiatus was due to his high blood pressure. After conferring with his treating physician, claimant applied for a job doing maintenance work at Washington Square, the employer herein, which operated a nursing home facility. Claimant testified that his doctor did not place any restrictions on his work activities.

According to claimant, he interviewed for the maintenance job with Arthur Santspree, the building and maintenance superintendent for Washington Square. Claimant testified that he accepted the job as a maintenance worker at Washington Square because he understood that he would be working primarily in air conditioned buildings and if any work was to be done outside, it would be very little and would not last long. Through August and September, the claimant performed maintenance repairs inside the complex's air conditioned buildings. However, claimant testified that approximately three to four weeks prior to his heart attack, he was required to perform additional outside work. This was due to the fact that the superintendent and a co-employee had taken vacations, leaving more of a load for the claimant to handle, and the fact that the facility had undergone inspections, requiring more work to be performed inside and outside.

Claimant testified that one of his jobs during this time was to pull up fence posts and haul them out from around a retention pond. Claimant testified that this additional work caused him to become dizzy and weak.

On October 27, 1987, the date of claimant's heart attack, he and a co-worker, George Atkinson, were assigned by the superintendent to haul and lay sod near several of the buildings on the employer's complex. They were working on a warm, humid morning in the direct sunlight and had been working approximately 3 1/2 hours hauling sod when claimant had a cardiac arrest.

Mr. Santspree, the claimant's supervisor, testified that he had interviewed claimant and had advised claimant at that time of the nature of the job and the job duties involved. He also testified that he had probably reviewed with claimant 90% of the duties listed on the job description form. Mr. Santspree further testified that about 99% of the work maintenance workers perform is done inside the buildings. He described the work that maintenance workers normally have to do outdoors as follows:

Well, normally it's ... well, we did some erosion work and sodding, of course, as you're aware of, and the sprinkler system, sweeping the carports. That's about it really.

A job description form was entered into evidence, which had been signed by claimant. Claimant's job description indicated that one of his duties as a maintenance assistant was "care of the grounds."

George Atkinson, the other maintenance worker hired by Washington Square, had an identical job description to that of the claimant. Mr. Atkinson explained that it was his understanding that as part of his job he was supposed to help take care of the grounds. Mr. Atkinson further testified that the activity he and claimant were doing the day of the accident was different from their regular routine duties for the employer:

Q. Was this activity that you were doing that day different than your regular routine duties there?

Page 260

A. Well, yes, that's something that we didn't do very often. I think that's the second time we've done it.

The judge found that claimant's heart attack was not compensable because it occurred while the claimant was engaged in an activity that was routine to his job and therefore denied his claim for benefits.

The general rule regarding the compensability of a heart attack occurring during the course of employment is that the heart attack must have been caused by the unusual strain or overexertion of a specifically identifiable effort not routine to the work the employee was accustomed to performing. Victor Wine & Liquor, Inc. v. Beasley, 141 So.2d 581 (Fla.1961); Richards Department Store v. Donin, 365 So.2d 385 (Fla.1978). In ascertaining, for workers' compensation purposes, whether a particular activity is...

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5 practice notes
  • Harper v. SEBRING INTERN. RACEWAY, INC., No. 1D04-0191.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • November 10, 2004
    ...employee as an entirety, rather than some isolated segment of his activities. Yates, supra, at 567. Walker v. Friendly Vill. of Brevard, 559 So.2d 258, 260 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990); see also Zundell v. Dade County Sch. Bd., 636 So.2d 8, 10 (Fla.1994) (explaining that, under Victor Wine, a claima......
  • Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Perdue, No. 1D05-1672.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 9, 2007
    ...demanding activity outside the scope or nature of their routine work activities. See, e.g., Walker v. Friendly Village of Brevard, 559 So.2d 258 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990); Silvera v. Miami Wholesale Grocery, Inc., 400 So.2d 439 Here, there is no evidence as to what constitutes Claimant's routine ......
  • Batson Cook Co. v. Thomas, No. 92-4092
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 19, 1994
    ...whether there is a history with the employer or whether the employee is new to the employment. See Walker v. Friendly Village of Brevard, 559 So.2d 258, 261 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990) at footnote 2, distinguishing Daniels v. Office Mart Holding Corp., 548 So.2d 828 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989). If there is......
  • Gardinier, Inc. v. Coker, No. 89-02345
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 23, 1990
    ...problems, it caused additional unusual problems in the walking of the dragline." In the case of Walker v. Friendly Village of Brevard, 559 So.2d 258 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990), this court stated the rule regarding the compensability of a heart attack: The general rule regarding the compensability ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Harper v. SEBRING INTERN. RACEWAY, INC., No. 1D04-0191.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • November 10, 2004
    ...employee as an entirety, rather than some isolated segment of his activities. Yates, supra, at 567. Walker v. Friendly Vill. of Brevard, 559 So.2d 258, 260 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990); see also Zundell v. Dade County Sch. Bd., 636 So.2d 8, 10 (Fla.1994) (explaining that, under Victor Wine, a claima......
  • Coca-Cola Bottling Co. v. Perdue, No. 1D05-1672.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 9, 2007
    ...demanding activity outside the scope or nature of their routine work activities. See, e.g., Walker v. Friendly Village of Brevard, 559 So.2d 258 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990); Silvera v. Miami Wholesale Grocery, Inc., 400 So.2d 439 Here, there is no evidence as to what constitutes Claimant's routine ......
  • Batson Cook Co. v. Thomas, No. 92-4092
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • April 19, 1994
    ...whether there is a history with the employer or whether the employee is new to the employment. See Walker v. Friendly Village of Brevard, 559 So.2d 258, 261 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990) at footnote 2, distinguishing Daniels v. Office Mart Holding Corp., 548 So.2d 828 (Fla. 1st DCA 1989). If there is......
  • Gardinier, Inc. v. Coker, No. 89-02345
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • July 23, 1990
    ...problems, it caused additional unusual problems in the walking of the dragline." In the case of Walker v. Friendly Village of Brevard, 559 So.2d 258 (Fla. 1st DCA 1990), this court stated the rule regarding the compensability of a heart attack: The general rule regarding the compensability ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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