Firestone Case May Shape Future Law / in Workers' Compensation

By Paschal, Jan | THE JOURNAL RECORD, October 7, 1986 | Go to article overview

Firestone Case May Shape Future Law / in Workers' Compensation


Paschal, Jan, THE JOURNAL RECORD


doctor at Firestone Tire & Rubber Co.'s plant in Oklahoma City when h is car hit a freight train.

Mankey, 31, suffered a mild concussion, scarring of his forehead, and a broken wrist, according to records on file at the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Court.

That was on June 20, 1985 - just 15 days after Mankey hurt his back on the job at Firestone, where he loaded and unloaded car and truck tires in the warehouse.

On Friday, Oct. 10, three appellate judges of the Oklahoma Workers' Compensation Court will conduct a hearing to decide whether Firestone and its insurance carrier should have to pay for Mankey's medical treatment and injuries resulting from the train wreck.

Tenal Cooley III, attorney for Firestone, said the impact of this case on workers' compensation rates in Oklahoma would be minimal.

"It's something we've been arguing about since 1957," Cooley said, citing some Oklahoma Supreme Court opinions.

But city and state chamber of commerce officials and company managers view cases like this one as shaping the nuances of workers' compensation law in the future.

"It seems that some judges are reaching out more and more to determine what is related to the scope of employment," said Phil McCowan, senior safety engineer for Firestone.

This year, the Oklahoma Legislature narrowed the definition of "scope of employment" in a wide-ranging reform of workers' compensation law.

And next year, business lobbyists plan to seek further reforms in the law.

However, the new workers' compensation law, which goes into effect Nov. 1, will not apply in the Mankey case.

Patrick Ryan, Mankey's attorney, said he believes Firestone is liable for Mankey's injuries in the freight train accident.

"It's part of the coming-and-going rule," Ryan said. …

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