Royer v. Touch of Grey Ranch

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Workers Compensation
  • Date Filed: 03-09-2016
  • Case #: A157574
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Shorr, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Tookey, J.

A laborer who is injured while remodeling a building used for non-commercial activities not within the trade or business of the employer falls under the “householder” exception of ORS 656.027(2) and is a “non-subject” worker as defined under the Oregon Workers’ Compensation Act.

Royer (“Claimant”) appealed a final order from an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) holding that Claimant fell under the “householder” exception of ORS 656.027(2), and was therefore not subject to the Workers’ Compensation Act. Claimant was hired to remodel an apartment building on the property of the Touch of Grey Ranch (“Employer”), a property that the owners intended to be used partially for business for keeping horses, but which also served as the owners’ personal home. Claimant received housing and limited funds in exchange for his labor. While using a chainsaw to cut wood, Claimant cut his leg, and subsequently filed a claim for workers’ compensation. The ALJ found that Claimant’s activities at the time of the injury were not part of Employer’s trade or business, and had no commercial character. Claimant appealed, arguing that the remodeling was performed on a building to be used to further Employer’s business, and should therefore be found within the Employer’s trade or business. The Court disagreed, and held that there was no evidence that the building being remodeled was ever used or to be used as a rental, but rather was intended to be used for private, non-commercial use for lodge visitors and workers—including Claimant. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the ALJ’s final order.

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