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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Dealing With Heavy Door Merits Workers’ Comp

(CN) - A woman who hurt her shoulder trying to open a stuck door at her workplace can collect workers' compensation benefits, a New York appeals court ruled.

Bariza Laib worked for the State Insurance Fund as a case manager for five years. She claimed to have injured her right elbow and shoulder by going through the workplace door.

Laib described the door as being made of thick metal and glass with a tight spring. She said the door was especially difficult to open and close on windy days.

She complained repeatedly to the security guards in the lobby and brought a note from her doctor to her supervisor stating that she should be allowed to use the handicap-accessible door.

Laib had surgery on her shoulder and the Workers' Compensation Board allowed her request for benefits.

Her employer appealed, but the Appellate Division's Albany-based Third Department agreed that the heavy door caused Laib's injury.

"We reject the employer's contention that the record lacks proof of an unusual or extraordinary condition or event that could cause claimant's accidental injury," Justice John Lahtinen wrote for a five-judge panel. "In our view, being forced to negotiate heavy metal and glass doors connected to a tight spring in order to gain access to or leave your office building is not the natural and unavoidable result of employment as an office worker."

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