McKnight v. Consolidated Concrete Co

In McKnight v. Consolidated Concrete Co., 279 Ala. 430, 186 So. 2d 144 (1966), the court stated that "it seems to be the rule now in practically all jurisdictions that a non-participating victim of horseplay may recover compensation." McKnight, 279 Ala. at 435, 186 So. 2d at 148. The court in McKnight ultimately upheld the trial court's judgment denying compensation for the death of the employee because the evidence supported the finding that the employee was a participant in the horseplay that led to his injury and ultimately to his death. In distinguishing an instigator or participant in the horseplay from an employee who is the victim of horseplay, the court discussed its holding in Stockham Pipe Fittings Co. v. Williams, stating: "It appears that the principal reason for our holding in [the Williams case], supra, was that Williams was the instigator of or a participant in the horseplay which resulted in his death. In other words, we applied the so-called 'aggressor defense' rule, without using that term. We agree with Larson that the term 'aggressor defense' is unsatisfactory, in that horseplay does not necessarily take the form of sportive assault in that often it is purely a solo performance, and sometimes even if a coemployee is involved, the conduct is 'so kittenish and trivial as to deserve a much less somber designation than "aggression," which is a term borrowed from the lexicon of malicious assault.'" McKnight, 279 Ala. at 435-36, 186 So. 2d at 149.