Durand Macklin claimed a CT injury as a result of his employment as a professional basketball player while employed by multiple NBA teams.
The WCJ concluded there was subject matter jurisdiction over Macklin’s claim because at least a portion of Macklin’s injury occurred within the state of California. The WCJ also said it had personal jurisdiction over the three NBA defendants (Atlanta Hawks, petitioner New York Knickerbockers, and Los Angeles Clippers). Each of the NBA defendants engaged in basketball business activities within California. The WCJ found injury to his back and elsewhere, and rejected defenses such as statute of limitations and laches. He was awarded 76 percent disability with no apportionment.
The Knickerbockers sought reconsideration claiming there was no subject matter jurisdiction to make the award. The WCAB affirmed the award. The Court of Appeal also affirmed in the published case of New York Knickerbockers v WCAB (Macklin).
On appeal, the Knickerbockers argued that Macklin’s one game in California as a New York Knick, in which he suffered no injury, was de minimis and therefore could not create a legitimate interest for California in his injuries. The team relied on this court’s decision in Federal Ins. Co. v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 1116 (Johnson).
A dispositive factor here is that, unlike in Johnson, Macklin played for a California team for a portion of the period of the cumulative injury. That Macklin, while employed by petitioner and Atlanta, participated in seven games and additional practices – at least one lasting two and one-half hours in California – is a factor in determining whether the connection between his injury and California is sufficient to conclude that the application of California workers’ compensation law here is reasonable. Because of the employment by a California-based team, the court did not have to determine if the other activities in California are sufficient by themselves to make the application of California workers’ compensation law reasonable, although those activities are more than the one game that Johnson concluded was de minimis.