Quest for Excellence Learning and Accident Fund Insurance Company of America v, Rebecca Newsom

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COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA Present: Judges Beales, Huff and Senior Judge Annunziata UNPUBLISHED QUEST FOR EXCELLENCE LEARNING AND ACCIDENT FUND INSURANCE COMPANY OF AMERICA MEMORANDUM OPINION* v. Record No. 0255-21-4 PER CURIAM JULY 20, 2021 REBECCA NEWSOM FROM THE VIRGINIA WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COMMISSION (Kwabena A. Akowuah; Ford Richardson, PC, on brief), for appellants. (Andrew S. Kasmer, on brief), for appellee. Quest for Excellence Learning (“Quest”) and Accident Fund Insurance Company of America (collectively “employer”) appeal a decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commission affirming the deputy commissioner’s award to Rebecca Newsom for temporary total disability benefits beginning November 26, 2019, and continuing until conditions justify modification, and medical benefits for injuries to her left ankle and left knee for as long as necessary. On appeal, employer contends that the Commission’s fact findings that “Newsom sustained an injury by accident to her left knee” and “sustained an injury by accident occurring in the course of her employment” are not supported by credible evidence. Upon reviewing the record and briefs of the parties, we conclude that this appeal is without merit. Accordingly, we summarily affirm the decision of the Commission. See Rule 5A:27. * Pursuant to Code § 17.1-413, this opinion is not designated for publication. Background At the hearing before the deputy commissioner, Newsom, a pre-school teacher, testified that Quest instructed her to park in the Harris Teeter parking lot located next to Quest when the school’s parking lot was full. On November 26, 2019, Newsom parked in Harris Teeter’s parking lot and walked from her car toward the school. After she entered Quest’s property, she walked down a grassy slope and slipped on wet grass, falling back on her left leg. Newsom testified that she could have taken a different route from the Harris Teeter parking lot, along a street adjoining the school, but did not do so because it was a busy, one-way street and did not have a sidewalk. She also testified that she always walked down this slope from the Harris Teeter parking lot, other Quest employees took the same route, and she was never reprimanded or cautioned by Quest against taking that route. Newsom stated that no foot path or paver stones were along the route, and she walked “cautiously” because the hill was sloped. Mike Hummer, Quest’s owner, testified that there were three routes employees could use to get to the school from Harris Teeter’s parking lot. They could walk the route Newsom took, they could walk along the one-way street where traffic was “very slow,” or they could walk where there were steps leading down to level ground and then up into the school’s parking lot. Hummer did not recall if many employees used the route Newsom took but stated that, several years before this incident, he had advised another teacher that this route “is not the direction to go.” Hummer testified that the hill’s steep grade and a drainage ditch at the bottom caused the grass to be wet most of the time. …

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