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Ricky Bagolie
Ricky Bagolie
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New Jersey Supreme Court Holds Injury at Dinner Compensable

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The NJ Supreme Court (5-2) held that an employee was within the course of
his employment when injured while eating dinner in New York City following the
terrorist attack of September 11, 2001. Since all the bridges and tunnels
were closed and the employees could not return to New J ersey, the Court indicated
that the deviation was minor and at the direction of his employer and was,
therefore, compensable.

Justice Zazzali said

“For almost one hundred years, under the Workers’ Compensation Act, our
State has afforded protection to and for workers injured at the workplace. The Act is but one part of a statutory, decisional, and constitutional
mosaic that provides dignity for all of our citizens in the workplace, but
it is a significant piece nonetheless. Courts may parse testimony and
refine tests, as we have done here. But, as we do, we must remain mindful
that this ‘humane social legislation,’ Hornyak, supra, 63 N.J. at 101, must
be liberally construed “in order that its beneficent purposes may be
accomplished.’ Torres v. Trenton Times Newspaper, 64 N.J. 458, 461 (1974) ;
see also Fiore v. Consol. Freightways, 140 N.J. 452, 465 (1995).”

Sager v. O.A. Peterson Construction, Co., 2004 WL 2933969 (NJ Supreme
Court) December 21, 2004