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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
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Injured Former WNBA Player Loses Comp Case

(CN) - A woman who played basketball for the WNBA's Connecticut Sun cannot bring a workers' compensation claim in California, a state appeals court ruled.

Adrienne Johnson graduated from the Ohio State University in 1997 and joined the Cleveland Rockers. After two years, she moved on the Orlando Miracle, which later became the Connecticut Sun.

In 2003, she underwent an MRI, which revealed a knee injury. Despite signing and practicing with the Seattle Storm in 2005, Johnson has not played a professional game in 10 years.

Johnson filed for workers' compensation in Connecticut in 2003, and she received $30,000 in a settlement.

While working as a teacher at the University of Louisville in 2006, Johnson filed a workers' compensation claim in California against the Connecticut Sun. She had played only one game in California, against the Los Angeles Sparks, during the 2003 season.

A medical examiner ruled in 2010 that Johnson suffers from chronic shoulder, hip, spine and ankle injuries.

The workers' compensation judge awarded her disability indemnity, but the Workers' Compensation Board of Appeals rescinded the award and remanded the case for a division between her previously compensated injury and her current maladies.

The team and Federal Insurance Co., its workers' compensation insurer, then sought a writ of review from the Second Appellate District for the California Court of Appeal. They argued that the workers' compensation appeals board did not have jurisdiction.

Johnson asserted that because her injuries were cumulative, the fact that she played one game in California gave the state jurisdiction.

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel with the Los Angeles-based court disagreed.

"A single basketball game played by a professional player does not create a legitimate interest in injuries that cannot be traced factually to one game. The effect of the California game on the injury is at best de minimis," Justice Richard Mosk wrote for the court.

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