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John Webb recently prevailed in a workers’ compensation trial before Judge D. Alan Mann in Madison County, Alabama in Antonio Octaviano v. Coast Personnel Services, Inc.
At the time of the accident, Plaintiff was employed with Benchmark Electronics through Defendant, Coast Personnel Services, Inc. Coast Personnel is a temporary staffing agency. The Plaintiff alleged he suffered a work related injury to his left knee on October 30, 2012. In terms of the mechanism of Plaintiff’s work related injury, he was exiting the building of his employer, took one step down the stairs, felt pain in his left knee, and fell down the remainder of the stairs. However, defense counsel established that Plaintiff actually suffered from a pre-existing torn meniscus to his left knee. As a result of that pre-existing injury, the Plaintiff was wearing a knee brace on his left knee on the date of the on-the-job accident on October 30, 2012.
Pursuant to Alabama Code §§ 25-5-51 and 25-5-77 (a), in order for a plaintiff to establish legal causation, he must prove his injuries are caused by an accident “arising out of’” and “in the course of” his employment. The Defendant did not dispute that Plaintiff’s accident occurred “in the course of” the Plaintiff’s employment; however, the Defendant disputed that the Plaintiff’s injury “arose out of” his employment. The evidence presented at trial established that the Plaintiff’s fall was not due to any increased risk created by the employment, but was instead due to the Plaintiff’s idiopathic condition, namely, his pre-existing left knee injury, which caused the Plaintiff to fall.
The Court found that the Plaintiff failed to establish legal causation and entered judgment in Defendant’s favor.