Tuesday, May 22, 2007

S.C. Supreme Court issues opinion on place of employment for workers comp. purposes

In Oxendine v. Davis, Oxendine was injured at work. During the four to six years preceding his injury, Oxendine framed houses for Employer during warm months and performed sheetrock work for other employers during cold months. Employer was based at a home/office in Mullins, South Carolina, and nearly all of Oxendine's work for Employer was performed in South Carolina. In the spring of 2004, Employer offered Oxendine a job framing a house in Ocean Isle, North Carolina. Respondent started work the following Monday and was injured six weeks later when he fell and sustained an ankle fracture which required surgery. The North Carolina Industrial Commission denied the claim and Oxendine brought a claim in South Carolina. Both parties agree that Oxendine was hired and injured in North Carolina. They disagreed on the location of the employment: Oxendine argued SC and Employer NC.

The Supreme Court applied the following factors to determine state of employment:
(1) Oxendine regularly worked for Employer in South Carolina during warm months for a number of years; (2) Oxendine went to Employer’s home/office in South Carolina on occasions to be paid, including at least once during the last interval of his work; (3) Oxendine often met co-workers at the place of employment to go to jobs; and (4) Oxendine performed work at Employer’s home immediately before his injury.

Based on these factor, the Court held the place of employment to be SC.

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