Levasseur v. Albert Farms
MMTA Workers' Comp Trust
March 5, 2014
Compensability Legal Causation Comeau v. Maine Coastal Services Slip & Fall Traveling Employee
Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys
The panel upheld HO Pelletier’s finding that Levasseur’s injury arose out of and in the course of his employment. Levasseur was a long-haul trucker who was returning from a trip to Nebraska, when he stopped at a Walmart in Presque Isle to get groceries for his next trip. After returning the groceries to his truck, he took his dog for a walk, and he slipped and fell on ice, breaking his leg. Albert Farms argued that the injury occurred during a deviation from his work route and was therefore not compensable, but HO Pelletier and the appellate panel disagreed.
HO Pelletier applied the factors suggested by the Law Court in Comeau v. Maine Coastal Services, 449 A.2d 362 (Me. 1982), and he found that, on balance, Levasseur’s activity at the time of his injury met the factors favoring compensability. In addition, he found that the “traveling employee” exception applied to the case and that the deviation was not substantial enough to make the injury non-compensable. The appellate panel found no reason to overturn either finding, holding that appellate review of a hearing officer’s application of the Comeau factors is “highly deferential,” and that HO Pelletier’s conclusion was “neither arbitrary nor without rational foundation.”