Menu Close

Erika Spence filed an application for adjudication of claim alleging that on July 30, 2017 she sustained industrial injury to her right foot while playing in a basketball tournament with other women from the Los Angeles Police Department called the Menehune Basketball Invitational Tournament held at a facility in the City of La Puente, California and hosted by a private organization.

At the trial on the sole issue of AOE-COE, Spence testified that no one encouraged or pressured her to play on the women’s basketball team. There would not be any negative consequences if she did not join the team, nor would there be any promotions or benefits if she did join. Her participation on the team was voluntary. Participating in tournaments was also voluntary.

Defendant presented the testimony of Sergeant Edward Acosta along with an excerpt of the 2017 LAPD Manual Vol. 3, in which Sergeant Acosta testified that, while basketball is on a list of approved activities, the tournament in which applicant was injured did not meet the requirements outlined in the LAPD Manual.

Based on this evidence, the WCJ issued the F&O finding that the applicant’s injury occurred AOE/COE. The LAPD petition for reconsideration was granted, and the WCAB panel found that she did not sustain injury AOE-COE to her right foot in the case of Spence v City of Los Angeles, ADJ 10987859 (10/6/2021)

Labor Code section 3600(a)(9) bars compensation for an injury Where the injury does not arise out of voluntary participation in any off-duty recreational, social, or athletic activity not constituting part of the employee’s work-related duties, except where these activities are a reasonable expectancy of, or are expressly or impliedly required by, the employment.

Pursuant to Ezzy v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (1983) 146 Cal.App.3d 252, 260 [48 Cal.Comp.Cases 611].) evaluation of whether an injury is barred under section 3600(a)(9) requires a two-prong test: (1) whether the employee subjectively believes his or her participation in an activity is expected by the employer, and (2) whether that belief is objectively reasonable.

In this case, based on applicant’s testimony, the first prong of Ezzy was not met. That is, applicant did not establish that she subjectively believed that participation in the Menehune Basketball Invitational Tournament was required.

Additionally, the panel noted that note that departments have the ability to limit the scope of potential liability by designating and/or pre-approving athletic activities or fitness regimens (Young v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (2014) 227 Cal.App.4th 472, 482; citing, Taylor v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (1988) 199 Cal.App.3d 211.) (Taylor).)

In this case, the LAPD Manual specifically outlined the conditions under which injury resulting from athletic activity will be considered on duty.