COURT RULES HURT PRISON GUARD NOT ENTITLED TO WORKERS’ COMP

By | October 9, 2006

A California correctional officer who was hurt while helping at an accident while on his way to work is not entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, the Third Appellate District Court of Appeal has ruled. The Court affirmed the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board’s order denying a claim.

Ryan Pettigrew contended he was entitled to workers’ comp benefits. While on his way to work as a correctional officer for the State of California, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, California Medical Facility, Pettigrew stopped to help at an accident scene. An oncoming car hit a parked vehicle, which hit Pettigrew, who suffered injuries.

Although he was off duty at the time, Pettigrew cited the Ethics Cadet Workbook containing a correctional worker’s code of ethics, that stated, “My primary concern is to serve mankind; to be ever mindful of the responsibilities entrusted in me by my fellow citizens; to protect the lives of those placed in my charge; to safeguard the weak against oppression or intimidation, and the peaceful against violence or disorder.”

However, the court noted that Pettigrew was not acting as a peace officer at the time he stopped at the accident, his job duties did not require him to stop and he was not within the course and scope of his employment when he was injured.

“The fact that the law enforcement code of ethics for correctional officers speaks of a duty to serve humankind and safeguard lives and property does not confer authority on a correctional officer to act outside the scope of his statutory jurisdiction,” the court wrote in Pettigrew v. Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, 06 SOS 5189.

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Insurance Journal West October 9, 2006
October 9, 2006
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