Feiereisen v. Newpage Corp., et al.

Summary:

Feiereisen injured his right shoulder in a car accident while traveling to a workers’ compensation mediation on 1987, 1997 and 2007 injuries while at Newpage. The employee eventually filed a number of petitions, including a Petition for Award with regard to the car accident. The Hearing Officer found that an injury traveling to or from a mediation does not arise out of and in the course of employment and the Maine Supreme Court agreed. A five justice majority found the situation in this case similar to that in Dorey v. Forster Manufacturing Co., 591 A.2d 240 (Me. 1991), in which the Court held that an injury sustained while the employee was retrieving records to pursue her workers’ compensation claim did not arise out of and in the course of employment. The Court noted that attending mediation does not promote the interests of the employer and also cited the “going and coming” or “public streets” rule which, subject to very limited exceptions, provides that an accident occurring off the employer’s premises while an employee is going to or from work is not compensable.

The employee, and the two justice dissent, relied on one of the exceptions to the going and coming rule announced in Moreau v. Zayre Corp., 408 A.2d 1289 (Me. 1979). In that case the employee was injured while driving home after receiving medical treatment for an alleged work-related injury. The majority distinguished Moreau by noting that unlike attendance at a mediation which promotes only the interests of an employee, attendance at medical appointments becomes part of the employment contract because it satisfies both the employer’s obligation to provide medical services pursuant to the Workers’ Compensation Act and the employee’s reciprocal obligation to accept those services.

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