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Southern District splits on work comp for nurse’s knee injury

Scott Lauck//May 19, 2022

Southern District splits on work comp for nurse’s knee injury

Scott Lauck//May 19, 2022

The full Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District on May 5 split 6-1 over whether a nurse who was injured while at work was owed workers’ compensation.

Sydney Durr was a certified nursing assistant at Clark’s Mountain Nursing Center. In 2015, she was refilling pitchers of water in a patient’s room when she twisted her knee while maneuvering around a bed in the dark.

An administrative law judge awarded her benefits, but the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission reversed that decision under the requirement that workers must demonstrate that their injury “does not come from a hazard or risk unrelated to the employment to which workers would have been equally exposed outside of and unrelated to the employment in normal nonemployment life.”

Judge William W. Francis Jr., writing for the Southern District’s majority, found that Durr’s injury was work-related.

“It was during (and because of) Durr’s performance of this particularized job requirement that she was injured,” he wrote.

Judge Jeffrey W. Bates concurred. So did Chief Judge Gary W. Lynch and Judges Don E. Burrell, Jack A. L. Goodman and Jennifer R. Growcock, but they wrote a separate opinion noting that the factual findings in the case weren’t “a model of clarity.”

Judge Mary W. Sheffield dissented, arguing that Durr had faced no unusual or increased risk.

“Essentially, she injured her knee while attempting to turn around at the base of a bed,” she wrote.

The case is Durr v. Clark’s Mountain Nursing Center et al., SD37212.

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