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Saturday, January 18, 2014

NJ Supreme Court Hears Premises Rule Case

The Premises Rule maybe getting an updated interpretation by the New Jersey Supreme Court. Within the last several days the Court heard the oral argument in Hersch v The County of Morris. The case involves an employee of a public entity that was given a seniority “perk” of a paid parking pass to the County parking garage.

After parking in the garage, the employee crossed a public road to gain access to her assigned office in the County building. The employee was struck by a motor vehicle. Both the Trial and Appellate Courts held the matter to be compensable.

The NJ Supreme Court was presented by the defense that the accident occurred off premises and out of the control of the employer. The employee argued that the injury occurred within the course of the employment because the employer furnished the parking pass as “perk” to the employee. 
The employer alleged that the parking pass was sent to the employer as enticement to recruit employees, The convenience of which was a closer parking space you safety are going to and from her vehicle.

Video (Windows media) file available on-line from Rutgers University Library

A-59-12 Cheryl Hersch v. County of Morris (071433)

Note: See also Burdette v Harrah’s Atlantic City, 2014 WL 184412 (N.J.Super. A.D. 2014) affirming compensability of an employee’s injuring occurring in a parking lot owned and operated by the employer.
“Because the Act is humanitarian social legislation, it is to be liberally construed in favor of coverage, for the protection of employees. Valdez v. Tri–State Furniture, 374 N.J.Super. 223, 232 (App.Div.2005); see also Zahner v. Pathmark Stores, Inc., 321 N.J.Super. 471, 477 (App.Div.1999) (noting the courts’ liberal construction of the Act's provisions in favor of employees to accomplish its “beneficent purposes”).”