law-course-and-scope-of-employement for workers compensation purposes

Applicable Law

The Texas Labor Code provides, in pertinent part,

"Course and scope of employment" means an activity of any kind or character that has to do with and
originates in the work, business, trade, or profession of the employer and that is performed by an
employee while engaged in or about the furtherance of the affairs or business of the employer. The
term includes an activity conducted on the premises of the employer or at other locations. The term
does not include:

(A) transportation to and from the place of employment unless:
. . .
(iii) the employee is directed in the employee's employment to proceed from one place to another place
. . . .

Tex. Lab. Code Ann. § 401.011(12) (Vernon 2007).

The Texas Supreme Court has stated, "In general, injuries which occur while the employee is traveling
to or from work are not compensable under the [Worker's Compensation] Act." Evans v. Ill. Employers
Ins. of Wausau, 790 S.W.2d 302, 304 (Tex. 1990); see Tex. Lab. Code Ann. § 401.011(12)(A).
However, when an employee is on a "special mission," that is, when "the employee is directed in the
employee's employment to proceed from one place to another place," the employee is acting within the
course and scope of employment, and injuries suffered while on the special mission are compensable.
Evans, 790 S.W.2d at 304; see Tex. Lab. Code Ann. § 401.011(12)(A)(iii). The fact that an employee is
directed to report to work at a different time or a different location is, alone, not enough to establish the
employee was on a special mission. Evans, 790 S.W.2d at 304.

"[B]ecause they retain their status as peace officers twenty-four hours a day, making the distinction
between compensable or non-compensable injuries may be more difficult than cases involving other
citizens." Blackwell v. Harris County, 909 S.W.2d 135, 139 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1995, writ
denied). The Fourteenth Court of Appeals used a test "that turns on one basic inquiry: in what capacity
was the officer acting at the time [of the injury]?" Id. The court further noted that the inquiry is generally
a fact issued to be decided on a case-by-case basis. Id. at 140.
Harris County v. Hinojosa (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Jul. 2, 2009)
worker's comp appeal, whether auto accident occurred in course and scope of employment)
Justice Elsa Alcala     
Before Justices Jennings, Alcala and Higley   
01-08-00439-CV  Harris County v. Eluid Hinojosa   
Appeal from 55th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge:
Hon. Jeffrey A. Shadwick      

Douglas v. Moody Gardens, Inc. (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] Dec. 20, 2007)(Seymore)
workers comp, course and scope of employment, estoppel)
AFFIRMED: Opinion by
Justice Seymore
Before Chief Justice Hedges, Justices Anderson and Seymore
14-07-00016-CV Linda Douglas v. Moody Gardens, Inc. and Transcontinental Insurance Company
Appeal from County Court No. 3 of Galveston County (Hon. Roy M. Quintanilla)