USA TRUCKS, INC. BROADSPIRE SERVICES, INC. APPELLANTS
JAMES JARRELL APPELLEE
FROM THE ARKANSAS WORKERS' COMPENSATION COMMISSION [NO.
Ledbbetter, Cogbill, Arnold & Harrison, LLP, by: R. Scott
Zuerker and Joseph Karl Luebke, for appellant.
I. Baretz, for appellee.
D. VAUGHT, Judge
Truck, Inc. and Broadspire Services, Inc., (collectively
"USA Trucks") appeals the Arkansas Workers'
Compensation Commission's order adopting and affirming
the administrative law judge's (ALJ) finding that
appellee James Jarrell suffered a compensable injury. We
2014, Jarrell applied for a truck-driving position with USA
Trucks and attended the company's truck-driving school in
Fort Wayne, Indiana. He obtained a commercial driver's
license and was directed by USA Trucks to go to Van Buren for
a two-day orientation, which he did. He left the orientation
with a "training driver" with whom he drove to
Colorado and back to Arkansas. While on the road, the two men
slept in the sleeper berth of the truck, although the trainer
told Jarrell that, if he didn't want to sleep in the
truck, he could get a hotel room at his own expense.
the training trip to Colorado, USA Trucks arranged for
Jarrell to take a bus to Memphis for additional training,
which he did. As soon as Jarrell arrived at the West Memphis
bus terminal, his new trainer took him to Wal-Mart to buy
groceries for their trip to begin the following morning.
Later, the trainer instructed Jarrell on where to put his
personal belongings in the sleeping berth of the truck, told
him that the top bunk was Jarrell's, and told him that
they needed to get to sleep because they were leaving for
Texas early the next morning. Jarrell testified that the
trainer never mentioned that he had any option other than
sleeping in the truck and instead told him that they should
sleep there so they could leave very early the following
morning. Jarrell testified that he understood this as an
instruction from the trainer.
morning, the trainer woke Jarrell up by instructing him to
immediately conduct a pretrip inspection of the truck.
Jarrell climbed down from the top bunk and inadvertently
stepped into a crock pot full of hot water, causing severe
burns to both of his feet. He was transported to the hospital
by ambulance. Jarrell testified that he was climbing out of
the bunk bed to get dressed in order to conduct the
inspection as instructed by the trainer. He noted that he was
required to keep an accurate log of his on-duty and off-duty
time and that he was not permitted to log any on-duty time
until he was dressed and ready to work. He admitted that he
had not yet logged any on-duty time in the truck when he was
filed a claim with the Commission, alleging that he had
suffered a compensable injury. Appellants denied that his
injury was compensable, arguing that he had not been
performing employment services at the time of his injury. The
ALJ found that Jarrell had been instructed to sleep in the
truck so that the two men could leave early the next morning
and that by sleeping there he had advanced his employer's
interest. USA Trucks then appealed to the Commission, which
adopted and affirmed the ALJ's opinion.
reviewing Commission decisions, we view the evidence and all
reasonable inferences deducible therefrom in the light most
favorable to the Commission's decision and affirm it if
it is supported by substantial evidence. Hill v. LDA
Leasing, Inc., 2010 Ark.App. 271, 374 S.W.3d 268.
Substantial evidence exists if reasonable minds could reach
the Commission's conclusion, and we will not reverse
unless fair-minded persons could not have reached the same
conclusion when considering the same facts. Id. We
will reverse if the Commission's decision is based on an
incorrect application of the law. Id.
only issue presented by USA Trucks in this appeal is whether
Jarrell was performing employment services at the time of his
injury. In Razorback Concrete v. Perkins, 2015
Ark.App. 368, at 2, 465 S.W.3d 15, 16, we explained:
A compensable injury is one that arises out of and in the
course of employment, but it does not include one that is
inflicted on an employee at a time when employment services
are not being performed. Wallace v. W. Fraser South,
Inc., 365 Ark. 68, 225 S.W.3d 361 (2006).
The Workers' Compensation Act does not define the phrase
"in the course of employment" or the term
"employment services." Id. Our supreme
court has taken on the task of defining these terms in a
manner that is compliant with the strict construction
required of the Act. Id. Since 1993, the supreme
court has held several times that the test is whether the
injury occurred within the time and space boundaries of the
employment, when the employee was carrying out the
employer's purpose or advancing the employer's
interest directly or indirectly. Id. This inquiry
depends on the particular facts and circumstances of each
case. Texarkana Sch. Dist. v. Conner, 373 Ark. 372,
284 S.W.3d 57 (2008).
argue that our case law has previously established that
off-duty truck drivers who are injured while performing
"routine personal grooming and related tasks" upon
arising in the morning (showering, going to the bathroom) are
not performing employment services and their injuries are,
therefore, not compensable. See Cook v. ABF Freight
Sys., Inc., 88 Ark.App. 86, 90, 194 S.W.3d 794,
797 (2004); Kinnebrew v. Little John's Truck,
Inc., 66 ...