California Labor Code Section 3600.2(a) - Interpretation

Labor Code section 3600.2 subdivision (a) states: "Whenever any peace officer, as defined in Section 50920 of the Government Code, is injured, dies, or is disabled from performing his duties as a peace office by reason of engaging in the apprehension or attempted apprehension of law violators or suspected law violators, or protection or preservation of life or property, or the preservation of the peace anywhere in this state, including the local jurisdiction in which he is employed, but is not at the time acting under the immediate direction of his employer, he or his dependents, as the case may be, shall be accorded by his employer all of the same benefits, including the benefits of this division, which he or they would have received had that peace officer been acting under the immediate direction of his employer. Any injury, disability, or death incurred under the circumstances described in this section shall be deemed to have arisen out of and been sustained in the course of employment for purposes of workers' compensation and all other benefits." In Luna v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd. (1988) 199 Cal. App. 3d 77, the court considered the analogous provisions of Labor Code section 3600.2 . In rejecting the police officer's contention he was engaged in performing law enforcement duties at the time he was injured, the court drew an analogy to the law of criminal attempts: "An admittedly ironic and imperfect analogy to the law of crimes illustrates the weakness of the argument, however. Taken in the aggregate, the officer's glances, thoughts, and anticipations would not amount to an 'attempt' in the criminal law. Mere preparation, without some act to implement a nefarious design coupled with unequivocal evidence of the specific intent to accomplish it, does not constitute an attempt. By the same token, an officer who slips in the shower at home does not come within the exception, even though the purpose in bathing is to ready himself for work and even though plans to apprehend a criminal are being cogitated at the time. The preliminary steps the officer claims to have taken were of a similar nature and insufficient to constitute an attempted apprehension of a criminal suspect." (Luna, supra, 199 Cal. App. 3d at p. 81.)