ARS 23-1024(A) Interpretation

In Connors v. Parsons, 169 Ariz. 247, 252, 818 P.2d 232 (App. 1991), the plaintiff was a passenger in a car driven by her co-employee. 169 Ariz. at 248. During the lunch hour, they went on a work-related errand. Id. While returning to work, they decided to stop for lunch, but before they reached their destination they were involved in a car accident. Id. The plaintiff applied for and received workers' compensation benefits, and then filed a lawsuit against her co-employee. Id. at 248-49. The trial court granted summary judgment to the co-employee, finding the plaintiff's acceptance of workers' compensation benefits operated as a waiver to bringing a tort claim. Id. at 249. Applying A.R.S. 23-1024(A), which provides that an employee who accepts compensation under the Act waives the right to sue the employer or "any co-employee acting within the scope of employment," this court held that an issue of fact existed whether the co-employee was acting within the scope of employment at the time of the accident. Connors, 169 Ariz. at 249, 251. The Court therefore remanded for further proceedings, noting that "principles of employment law" could be determinative on remand, including the following: The dual purpose exception applies where the employee performs a concurrent business service for the employer while doing a personal commute. . . . In order to constitute a concurrent service, the trip must have been necessary for the employer--i.e., sometime, someone would have to run this errand on the employer's behalf even if the parties' personal trip were canceled. . . . the business trip need not have been taken by these same parties at the same time that they actually took it but someone would eventually have to make the trip for the company. . . . Once a dual purpose is found, the law does not separate the business and personal motives; the business motive colors the entire trip. 169 Ariz. at 252.