A restaurant server was entering an order into a micro computer in the restaurant kitchen, when co-workers began pelting him with ice from behind as a joke. The server turned around, and when he raised his arm to shield his face from incoming bits of ice, his shoulder dislocated. Surgery was required. The Deputy Commissioner who heard the case determined the server was the “innocent victim of horseplay,” and that the claim was compensable. However, on appeal, the full Commission determined that the hundred year old common law allowing “innocent victims of horseplay” to recover had changed, and benefits were denied. The Court of Appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court of Virginia reversed, and found that the full Commission and the Court of Appeals misapplied the law, and that the law allowing “innocent victims of horseplay” to recover workers’ compensation benefits remains viable in Virginia.
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