Case Update: CSA holds Circuit Court did not err in granting non-appealing party's request for an essential trial de novo and af


In Montgomery County v. Maloney, the Claimant, a Virginia resident and career firefighter for Montgomery County, at the request of his supervisor, volunteered to work at a two-day recruitment event hosted by the County. Claimant would be paid overtime to work the event, which ran from 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Friday and from 6 a.m. to around 4 p.m. on Saturday.

After the end of the first day, around 8:30 p.m., Claimant drove to a grocery store to pick up food and then drove to nearby Station 33 to sleep for the night. Upon arriving at the station, he spoke with the station’s Commander, took a shower, and did some reading. Around 10:30 p.m. that same night, Claimant stepped into the engine bay and injured his ankle. He then woke up the Commander to report his injury, and the Commander filed a First Report of Injury.

The Commission held a hearing to determine whether Claimant’s injuries were compensable. At the hearing, Claimant and the supervisor of the County's Fire and Rescue Operational Medical Services program testified that it was generally permissible and even a routine practice for a County firefighter to shower and sleep at any of the County’s fire stations. The Commission found that the Claimant’s injuries arose out of and in the course of his employment and thus, were compensable.

The County thereafter petitioned for an on the record judicial review of the Commission’s decision in the Circuit Court. Claimant filed a response to the County’s petition and requested a de novo judicial review by jury trial pursuant to LE §9-745(d). The Circuit Court granted Claimant’s request for de novo judicial review and after a trial, affirmed the Commission’s compensability decision.

On appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, there were two pertinent issues. First, whether the Circuit Court erred by granting Claimant’s (the non-appealing party) request for a jury trial. The Court of Special Appeals held that the Circuit Court did not err in granting Claimant’s request because LE §9-745(d) provides that any party can request de novo review of a question of fact. The Court of Special appeals confirmed that whether a Claimant’s injuries arise out of and in the course of his employment is a mixed question of law and fact and properly the subject of de novo review. The second issue on appeal was whether the Circuit Court erred in determining Claimant’s injuries arose out of and in the course of his employment. The Court of Special Appeals held that there was no error because but for his employment, Claimant would not have been sleeping at Station 33 the night he was injured. And even though the injury was sustained when Claimant was off the clock, and in a place he would not typically be while performing work-related duties, it arose out of an activity (sleeping at Station 33 between shifts) that could be reasonably concluded as sufficiently employment-related.

A copy of the Opinion can be found at: