Monday, November 11, 2013

Clodgo v. Industry Rentavision, Inc. case brief

Clodgo v. Industry Rentavision, Inc. case brief summary
701 A.2d 1044 (Vt. 1997)

Defendant employer sought review of a decision from the Commissioner of Labor and Industry (Commissioner) (Vermont), which awarded workers' compensation benefits to claimant employee for injuries the employee received while engaged in horseplay with a co-worker.


The employee and co-worker engaged in a staple gun fight during some idle time at their jobs and the employee received an injury to his eye. He filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits, which was allowed by the commissioner, and the employer challenged the decision.


  • On appeal, the court reversed and held that the injury did not occur during the course of his employment. Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 21, § 618 defined compensable injuries as those received by accident arising out of and in the course of employment. 
  • Because the employee was engaged in horseplay he could only recover if he could show that the injury occurred in the course of employment, which, in turn, depended on the extent of the employee's deviation from his work duties. 
  • The incident was unrelated to any legitimate use of the staple guns and the obvious dangerous activity and the absence of any connection between his duties as a salesperson and the horseplay indicated the accident occurred during a substantial deviation from work duties.

The court reversed the award of workers' compensation benefits from the employer to the employee.

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