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Griego v. Lasalle

Court of Appeals of New Mexico

October 16, 2018

DAVID D. GRIEGO, Worker-Appellant,
v.
JONES LANG LASALLE, and THE HARTFORD, Employer/Insurer-Appellee.

          APPEAL FROM THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION ADMINISTRATION Leonard J. Padilla, Workers' Compensation Judge

          PIZZONIA LAW JUSTIN P. PIZZONIA ROSE BRYAN ALBUQUERQUE, NM FOR APPELLANT

          ELMORE LAW, LLC JEFFREY P. STRADLING ALBUQUERQUE, NM FOR APPELLEE

          OPINION

          MICHAEL E. VIGIL, JUDGE

         {¶1} David Griego (Worker) appeals from the workers' compensation judge's (WCJ) compensation order denying him workers' compensation for an injury resulting from a trip-and-fall that occurred on the job. Worker argues that the WCJ erred in concluding that his accident did not arise out of and in the course of his employment. See NMSA 1978, § 52-1-9 (1973) ("The right to the compensation provided for in [the Workers' Compensation Act (WCA)] .. . shall obtain in all cases where the following conditions occur:... at the time of the accident, the employee is performing service arising out of and in the course of his employment and ... the injury or death is proximately caused by accident arising out of and in the course of his employment[]"). We reverse.

         BACKGROUND

         {¶2} The material facts are not disputed. Worker is employed by a contractor for Intel, John Lang LaSalle (Employer), as a maintenance technician. Worker's duties include "fulfilling tenant service requests and performing preventative maintenance and repairs" at the Intel job site. To fulfill these duties, Worker walks long distances in the corridors of the Intel building, which is over a mile long. Maintenance technicians at Intel walk up to twelve miles each day in the facility's corridors and average eight miles of walking per day.

         {¶3} It is Intel's policy for another technician to "spot" the technician performing: repairs on a given project for safety reasons due to the dangers of the facility. When spotting another technician, the spotter's job is to observe and call for help if needed.

         {¶4} On July 6, 2015, Worker was working as a spotter for another maintenance; technician. In order to get to the location of his job assignment, Worker was required to walk in the Intel corridors. As Worker walked to his job assignment, he tripped over his own foot, causing him to fall. As a result of his fall, Worker sustained a I fracture to his humerus.

         {¶5} There was no substance or object on the floor that caused Worker to fall. There I was no sudden noise or bright light that startled Worker when he fell. The floor was even; it had no slope or incline. Nor was there evidence that Worker suffers from ¶ any neurological or other deficit, preexisting condition, or infirmity that might have i contributed to his fall.

         {¶6} Employer's insurer (Insurer) denied Worker's claim for workers' compensation coverage on grounds that Worker's fall was not work-related. Worker i filed a complaint with the Workers' Compensation Administration, claiming that he ' was wrongfully denied workers' compensation. Employer/Insurer responded that 1 Worker "did not suffer an accidental injury arising out of and in the course of his » employment, and the accident was not reasonably incident to his employment."

         {¶7} After trial on the merits and submission of proposed findings of facts and conclusions of law by the parties, the WCJ entered an order determining that Worker was not entitled to workers' compensation. The WCJ found and concluded that: "[n]o risk reasonably incident to Worker's employment caused Worker's fall or injury[, ]" "[t]he risk experienced by Worker was not increased by the circumstances of Worker's employment[]" and therefore Worker's accident "did not arise out of Worker's employment with Employer." Worker appeals.

         DISCUSSION

         I. ...


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