One frequently litigated part of PA workers’ compensation law is whether an injured worker is within the “scope and course” of his or her employment at the time of the injury.  Often, this question is dealing with a situation where an employee is injured just before or after his or her work day.  Since these cases are very limited by the exact facts, we like to see how the courts address each and every instance.  Recently, the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania issued a decision on this issue, though it is “unreported.”

We have previously discussed that not all Pennsylvania appellate cases, including ones that address PA workers’ compensation issues, are created equal.  Only “reported” appellate cases can be used as precedent.  However, “unreported” cases can still be cited by the parties, as persuasive, though such decisions are not binding on a Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ).  For these reasons, we obviously prefer to use reported cases, but we never ignore the unreported ones.

The recent case is Lombardi v. Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (UPMC Health Plan, Inc.).  Here, the injured work arrived for her shift about 30 minutes early.  Her work takes place in an office building, not owned by her employer.  The injured worker went to the food court on the ground floor, intending to purchase breakfast to take to her cubicle.  While doing so, she tripped and fell, fracturing her right forearm and wrist.