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New York Appellate Court Hears Worker’s Compensation Claim


This matter deals with Nelida Capizzi as the claimant. The Southern District Reporters, Inc., et all is the respondents. The Workers Compensation Board is the appellant in the case. The case is being heard in the Court of Appeals of New York.

This is a workers’ compensation claim that presents the question of whether the claimant’s injury that resulted from a slip and fall in a bathtub at a hotel arouse from the course of her employment. The Workers’ Compensation Board determined that the accident, notice, and causal relationship have been established. The Appellate Division reversed on the ground that showering is a personal act and the injury of the claimant is non-compensable as a matter of the law. The Workers’ Compensation Board is appealing to this court.

Case Background

The claimant, Nelida Capizzi was employed as a transcriber/typist by the respondent Southern District Reporters, Inc. which is a court reporting firm located in New York City. On the 30th of December, 1980, the respondent’s employer sent the claimant and four of her co-employees on a business trip to Toronto, Canada. The purpose of the trip was to transcribe notes of the minutes of depositions that were being held there. The hearings were suspended later in the evening in anticipation of the New Years Holiday. At around seven the following morning, the claimant slipped and fellas she was stepping into the bathtub at the hotel to shower before heading back to New York.

The claimant filed a claim for compensation benefits as a result of the injuries she sustained. The law judge for workers’ compensation found that the accident, notice, and causal relationship had been established for the injuries that she sustained. The Workers’ Compensation Board reviewed the case and affirmed the decision. The Board found that the claimant was required to travel to Toronto as a part of her job and was directed to stay at the place for a specified amount of time and for this reason her status as employee continued throughout the trip. The board also found that the claimant was in the hotel room for the benefit of the employer and the environment that she was placed in contributed to the accident.

Case Discussion and Decision

The appellate division reversed the decision made by the Workers’ Compensation Board. They held that the injuries that are sustained by an out of town employee based on a fall that happened while showering are not ordinarily compensable because they are attributed to personal acts of the employee.

In this particular case, one of the findings of fact is the fact that the Workers’ Compensation Board considered the evidence in the case to be conclusive in ordering the compensation to the claimant. The board felt that because the claimant was required to stay at the hotel as a part of her employment, she was entitled to compensation for her injuries.

In a case such as this the court must stand with the board’s findings. The ruling made in the Appellate Division is reversed on the law and the decision that was made by the Workers’ Compensation is reinstated.

If you have been injured and believe liability lies elsewhere for your injuries, contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates to discuss your case. A free consultation is provided on your first visit to our offices. Come into one of our New York City offices to discuss your case with one of our qualified attorneys.

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