Skaug Law - July 2020

What Is the ‘Coming and Going’ Rule? And What Are the Exceptions? Workers’ compensation will typically cover the medical costs and lost wages of many different workplace injuries. But what if you’re injured while commuting to work, say, by getting in a car accident? Could you file a workers’ compensation claim then? The short answer to this question is no. Your commute to and from a job site is exempt from workers’ compensation under the “coming and going” rule, even though you might think you could reasonably argue that your commute is work-related. However, this rule does have a few exceptions that you should be aware of. COMMUTING IN A COMPANY CAR If you commute to work in a company-owned vehicle, any injuries that you experience during your commute might be covered by workers’ compensation. You could argue that driving a company car is always work-related if it has the company’s logo on the side because you’re essentially advertising for them during your commute. COMPLETING ‘SPECIAL MISSIONS’ If an employer asks you to complete a task outside of your work hours, such as picking up coffee or food on your way to work, your commute will then be classified as a “special mission.” This task does not have to be work-related. If you’re injured while doing something your boss asked you to do, they’re generally liable for compensation. TRAVELING AS PART OF YOUR JOB DUTIES Most exemptions to the coming and going rule fall under this category. If traveling is a part of your regular job duties, as is the case for bus drivers, state troopers, or truck drivers, you should be compensated for any injuries that occur while performing those duties. The same goes for workers, such as landscapers or technicians, who travel between multiple worksites in their personal vehicle. Finally, employers will also compensate workers who get injured as a part of work-related travel to work conferences as well, since their work requires them to attend. If you think your workers’ compensation claim falls under one of these exceptions to the coming and going law, give Skaug Law a call at (208) 466-0030, and we will help you win maximum compensation.

The Case That Was Frozen on Arrival The Woman Who Sued Disney for Copying Her Life in ‘Frozen’ This is the story of a woman who just couldn’t let it go. It was the fall of 2014 — Dennis Rodman became friends with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie with Oscar winners at the Academy Awards became the most retweeted image of all time. And an author sued Disney for $250 million after she claimed that the company stole major elements of her published memoir to craft the movie “Frozen.” “Frozen” was released in November 2013 and saw massive box office success and critical acclaim. It seemed like Walt Disney Animation Studios was finally hitting their stride and catching up to Pixar movies’ quality animation and storytelling. Unfortunately, high-profile movie projects and financiers with deep pockets tend to attract all sorts of hullabaloo in the form of frivolous lawsuits. Author Isabella Tanikumi, whose only notable work to date is her 2011 memoir “Yearnings of the Heart,” sued Disney for an egregious $250 million after claiming that the winter wonderland adventures of Anna, Elsa, and Olaf were stolen straight from her memoir and her life and violated copyright law. She cited 18 “similarities” to bolster her massive claim. For instance, Tanikumi claimed that both her book and the movie had stories of intense sisterly love, scenes under the moon, and talk about cold hearts. The tenuousness of the similarities alone would cause most people to dismiss Tanikumi’s claim like they would the ramblings of a red yarn-loving conspiracy theorist. And that’s just what the judge who oversaw the case did, granting Disney’s motion to dismiss. The judge stated that copyright law protects expressions but not ideas. The themes that Tanikumi believed Disney had stolen from her story were under public domain, usable by anyone without permission. Only Tanikumi herself knows for sure why she went through all that trouble. Everyone else will just have to speculate what gave her the gall to take on a media juggernaut like Disney in court with next to no viable case. That said, several reviews of her memoir on Amazon mention ties to “Frozen,” so make of that what you will.

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