Workmen’s Compensation – Recreation Injury

Decedent was employed by an automobile dealer as assistant manager of the service department. The dealer’s custom was to hold a monthly business meeting of the staff of major departments after working hours and without extra compensation. One such meeting was scheduled to be held at a city hotel. At the suggestion of an employee that it would be more pleasant to hold the meeting at a nearby lake, the employer changed the meeting place to a summer cottage owned by him. It was understood by those attending that there would be an opportunity for swimming and boating. Decedent was expected to and did attend the meeting. Following the meeting he decided to take a swim, and upon attempting a dangerous dive fractured a cervical vertebra. The injury subsequently resulted in his death. Decedent’s dependents were awarded compensation by the Industrial Board, but the award was reversed on appeal by a divided appellate court. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Indiana, held, the injury was compensable, two judges dissenting. The employer obtained a business benefit from the swimming by using it to obtain better attendance and participation in the business meeting, and the recreation was therefore incidental to the employment. The Industrial Board could properly conclude, as the trier of facts, that decedent’s injury and death arose out of and in the course of employment. Noble v. Zimmerman, (Ind. 1957) 146 N.E. (2d) 828.