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Act of a Third Person/Personal Reasons (C12)

[Cross reference. Course and scope of employment (C00)].

An injury is not compensable if it was caused by an act of a third person intended to injure the IW because of a personal reason and not directed at the IW in his or her capacity as an employee or because of the employment. Section 406.032(1)(C). This is commonly referred to as the personal animosity doctrine. The purpose of the doctrine is to exclude from coverage under the Act, injuries resulting from a dispute which has been transported into the place of employment from the IW's private or domestic life. However, if the conditions of employment worsens or is a factor contributing to the event that causes the injury, the injury is compensable. Nasser v. Security Insurance Company, 724 S.W.2d 17 (Tex. 1987).

Burden of Proof.

The IC has the initial burden of proof when asserting this affirmative defense. Once the IC produces probative evidence that the IW's injuries were caused due to personal reasons unrelated to the employment, the IW has the burden to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the injuries were caused due to his or her capacity as an employee or because of the employment. APD 971538. Whether such an injury is compensable is a question of fact for the HO to resolve. APD 971051.

Personal Animosity Found.

The IW and coworker A had a history of arguments from other jobs and problems working together. On the morning of the DOI, the IW was upset with the coworker because he had incorrectly placed a tub too close to where the IW needed to work. A second coworker moved the tub for the IW. At some point after that, the IW challenged coworker A to a fight, but no fight occurred at that time. The IW and coworker A continued to have words with each other. The IW testified that he returned to work and coworker A struck him in the head with a hammer. Other testimony reflected that the IW and coworker A continued to taunt each other and then went outside where coworker A struck the IW with a hammer. Both the IW and coworker A ran to the IW's car (where the IW had a gun); coworker A got there first; and the IW was shot in the foot. The HO determined that the IW's injuries were not compensable because they were caused by the long-standing ill feelings between the IW and coworker A, and had nothing to do with the employment. The determination of whether the injury was caused by personal animosity, and unrelated to the employment, presented a question of fact for the HO to resolve. APD 001802.

Personal Animosity Not Found.

Several nurses alleged that a doctor had sexually harassed them while at work and brought suit against their hospital employer. However, the court found that the nurses' problems with the doctor were not transported into the workplace from their private or domestic lives; rather, their problems with the doctor only occurred while at work in the hospital. The hospital was the exclusive setting for the doctor's harassment of the nurses. The personal animosity exception did not apply. Walls Regional Hospital v. Bomar, 9 S.W.3d 805 (Tex. 1999).

The IW was harassed by coworkers. The injury was sustained when the IW had a fight with one of the coworkers that had harassed him. The HO determined that there was no relationship or contact between the IW and any of the harassing coworkers other than at the workplace during work hours. The HO determined that the injury was compensable and that the personal animosity exception did not apply. The determination of whether the injury was not caused by personal animosity, and was related to the employment, presented a question of fact for the HO to resolve. APD 011962-s.

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