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Mullins v. Westmoreland Coal Co – Case Brief Summary (Virginia)

In Mullins v. Westmoreland Coal Co., 10 Va. App. 304, 391 S.E.2d 609 (Va. Ct. App. 1990), a case strongly relied upon by the County in the case at bar, an employee was injured while playing basketball on the employer's premises before his work shift started. Mullins, 10 Va. App. 304, 391 S.E.2d 609 at 610.

The Virginia Industrial Commission denied employee benefits, and the Court of Appeals of Virginia affirmed that decision, finding that the injury did not arise out of the employment. Id.

In Mullins, the court said: "If the employment exposes the worker to the activity which causes the accident, the accident generally will be deemed to have arisen out of the employment. . . . However, the claimant must show a causal connection between the injury and the conditions under which the employer requires the work to be done." Mullins, 10 Va. App. 304, 391 S.E.2d 609 at 611.

"When a claimant 'incurs dangers of his own choosing which are altogether outside of any reasonable requirement of his position, the risk arising from such action is not incident to and does not arise out of the employment.'" Id . (citing Conner v. Bragg, 203 Va. 204, 123 S.E.2d 393, 397 (1962)).