The central issue in this appeal is whether the superior court correctly upheld the Alaska Workmen's Compensation Board's decision that appellee Johns' injuries arose out of and in the course of his employment. We affirm.
In R.C.A. Serv. Co. v. Liggett
At the same time it was recognized that:
The narrow issue raised by this appeal involves the applicability of the going-and-coming rule. After a hearing, the Board rendered a decision in which it concluded "that Harry A. Johns was seriously injured while in the course and scope of his employment as an employee of the State of Alaska * * *."
This appeal followed.
The evidence which was brought forth at the hearing before the Board revealed the following. Edwin Church, supervisor of the State of Alaska, Department of Public Highways' Ernestine Camp, located at Mile 47 on the Richardson Highway,
Church testified that this arrangement was necessary because "there was no available place to live there [at Ernestine Camp] at the time," and that Johns was selected because, of all the state employees residing in the Glenallen area, he was the one who lived the closest to Ernestine Camp.
Church's testimony also established that October 12 was Johns' first day on the job at the camp. On that day Johns arrived slightly after 8 a.m. and worked until 4 p.m. hauling gravel.
Church's testimony also established that Johns was a permanent employee of the Department of Highways. In this regard Church testified:
The only other witness to testify at the hearing before the Board was George F. Peterson, whose position was maintenance supervisor for the Department of Highways at Glenallen where Johns was stationed as a permanent employee.
As to the day in question, Peterson told Johns to report to Ernestine Camp at 8 a.m. Concerning Johns' future commutations Peterson testified that Church was authorized to make any agreement with Johns he thought best concerning travel time. Peterson's understanding was that part of the time Johns was required to travel to and from his home at Copper Center to the job site was to be on state time, and that the specific details of such an arrangement were to be worked out by Johns and Church.
Peterson testified that he had explained to Johns that they might be able to get him per diem but that this would be difficult because of administrative delays and because of the fact that he thought Johns would be working at Ernestine Camp for only a matter of a day or two. Peterson also stated that if the work at Ernestine Camp lasted as long as a week he would obtain mileage for Johns.
At the hearing before the Board, counsel stipulated that Johns would have testified, if he could have been present, that he was asked if he would go to Ernestine Camp for approximately one week's work; that Peterson informed him he would have to commute and would get gasoline for his automobile because there was no place for him to live at Ernestine Camp; that it was his understanding that he was to be at Mile 47 Camp at 8 a.m. Monday and that half of his commuting time "was to be on his own time and half was to be on the State's time"
The hearing before the Board also established that the round trip mileage from Johns' home near Copper Center to his permanent duty station at Glenallen was twenty-eight miles compared to a round trip of 114 miles between his home and Ernestine Camp, and further compared to a round trip distance of sixty-eight miles between Johns' home and the actual job site out of Ernestine Camp.
In Voehl v. Indemnity Ins. Co.,
Our review of the record has led us to the conclusion that the going-and-coming rule which was adopted in Liggett
In such circumstances we hold that there was substantial evidence to support both the Board's and the superior court's conclusions that the injuries Johns sustained while returning to his home from Ernestine Camp were connected with the incidents of his employment and therefore compensable.
Here the urgency which necessitated Johns' temporary duty assignment was that of his employer. Johns' ability to commute (and proximity to) the job site was determinative in his selection for this temporary assignment and was also a paramount qualification from his employer's point of view. We believe that the trouble, time and special inconvenience encountered by Johns in traveling to his home on the first day of his temporary employment at Ernestine Camp was an integral part of his employment and came within the special errand exception to the going-and-coming rule. We therefore hold that the Board's decision and the superior court's affirmance are supported by substantial evidence establishing that at the time he was injured Johns was engaged in performing a special errand for his employer.
Additionally, we are of the opinion that the facts here bring Johns within another exception to the going-and-coming rule. It is established that if the employee is compensated for the time he has spent in going to or coming from his place of employment, then such travel is considered to be within the scope of his employment.
As to this exception, Professor Larson states:
In such circumstances compensation is awarded on the grounds that the employer, by paying his employees for travel time, impliedly agreed that the employment relationship was to continue during travel.
In regard to this exception, the superior court found that the Department of Highways had
We think that there is substantial evidence to support the conclusion that in order to induce Johns to take this temporary assignment at the relatively remote
Appellee correctly argues that the record must demonstrate the employer had agreed to compensate his employee for the particular trip in question or else the going-and-coming rule remains applicable. Appellee further argues that this is precisely the situation in the case at bar since Church's testimony revealed that he was unable to finalize travel time arrangements with Johns on his first day at work at Ernestine Camp because of certain logistic problems, but that he intended to work out a schedule with Johns the next day. In our view, Church's testimony does not negate the fact that it was intended and understood between Johns and his employer that Johns was to be compensated in some manner for the transportation he was furnishing and the extra mileage he was required to travel incident to his temporary employment assignment. From a study of the whole course of dealings between Johns and his employer, we find that it is a reasonable inference that the Department of Highways had agreed with Johns that he would be compensated for some portion of his travel time. The fact that the supervisor of the Ernestine Camp had not worked out a schedule in regards to Johns' future trips to and from Ernestine Camp does not vitiate the obligation the Department of Highways had incurred to compensate Johns for some portion of his travel time while on this temporary duty assignment.
Inherent in the foregoing is our conclusion that at the time he was injured Johns had not substantially deviated from the course of his employment.
In addition to affirming the Board's decision, the superior court remanded the case to the Board
See also Employers Liab. Assur. Corp. v. Dull, Opinion No. 355, 416 P.2d 821, 822 (Alaska 1966); Alaska Redi-Mix, Inc. v. Alaska Workmen's Compensation Bd., Opinion No. 359, 417 P.2d 595, 599 (Alaska 1966); Thornton v. Alaska Workmen's Compensation Bd., Opinion No. 327, 411 P.2d 209, 210 (Alaska 1966).