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Simply “Coming and Going” To Work Is Not a “Special Benefit”

In the case of Mitchell v. Worley, 2022-Ohio-4222, the appellate court held that the “special benefit” exception to the “coming and going” rule did not apply simply because an employee relocated to Ohio and lived in a hotel. As a result, the appellate court held that the employer was not liable for the employee’s actions — under this exception — while commuting to work in the employee’s personal vehicle and injuring another individual.

In this case, the injured individual argued that the employer should be liable for the employee’s actions while commuting to work because the employer received a special benefit from the employee who relocated to Ohio. In response, the employer argued that the employee worked at the same job site each day, the employee applied for the Ohio job the same as any other union laborer for the employer, the employer did not assist the employee in traveling to Ohio, the employer did not place any restrictions on where the employee stayed while in Ohio, the employer did not place any restrictions on how the employee commuted to and from the jobsite, and the employer never performed any tasks or assignments for the employer during this daily commute. The appellate court agreed with the employer.

In support of its decision, the appellate court first explained that: “’The law in Ohio is clear: an employer is not liable for the tortious acts of its employees on their way to and from the workplace.’” 2022-Ohio-4222, ¶ 26. The appellate court then explained that the special benefit exception to this rule does not apply in this case as the employee was simply making services available at a fixed place of employment. But the inquiry does not end there.

While the special benefit exception to the coming and going rule did not apply, the appellate court remanded the case back to the trial court to determine whether the “traveling employee” exception may apply.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.


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