Court: No workers' comp in drunk dockworker case - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Court: No workers' comp in drunk dockworker case

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A federal appeals court says an Oregon longshoreman who got drunk on the job, urinated while standing on a dock and then fell 6 feet onto concrete should not get workers' compensation benefits for his injuries. 

Gary Schwirse drank at least nine beers and half-pint of whiskey on Jan. 8, 2006. While standing on a dock, he urinated and fell over a railing. At the hospital, he registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.25 percent. 

Schwirse sued for workers' compensation benefits and at first was victorious, when an administrative law judge ruled that workplace hazards had been a factor in his fall. But the judge later reversed his ruling when Schwirse backed off a claim that he tripped over an orange cone. 

The worker appealed it to U.S. District Court, where he lost, and the case landed in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which denied a petition for a review of claims this week. The court said his injuries were due solely to intoxication and his employers could not be held responsible. 

Schwirse later tried to argue that the very concrete onto which he fell, and not his intoxication, was responsible for his injuries. That argument also lost. 

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judge N. Randy Smith wrote in the opinion that if intoxication was the reason for the fall, then intoxication was also the reason for the injury. 

Schwirse's Sunday morning began like this: He drank two beers before 8 a.m. and three beers once he got to work. At noon, he had another four or five beers, then started in on a pint of whiskey, of which he drank about half. At 4:30 p.m., when his shift collecting cones and directing trucks was over, he walked to a railing at the dock to urinate. 

He fell up and over the rail onto a concrete and steel ledge. He suffered a cut to his right temple. 

The Marine Terminals Corp. refused to pay his benefits, arguing that his intoxication was the sole cause of his injury. Schwirse then gave conflicting stories as to what happened that day. 

At his first hearing before an administrative law judge, Schwirse said two coworkers told him he tripped over an orange cone. That testimony conflicted with a previous deposition in which he said he himself remembered tripping over the cone. 

The judge initially awarded Schwirse benefits. The case bounced between the administrative law judge and the Benefits Review Board, which eventually ruled against the worker. 

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Homeless man gets makeover from big-hearted cops

    Homeless man gets makeover from big-hearted cops

    Tuesday, April 25 2017 2:44 PM EDT2017-04-25 18:44:10 GMT
    Tuesday, April 25 2017 3:49 PM EDT2017-04-25 19:49:50 GMT

    Police officers in Rome, NY, went the extra mile to give back to their community, helping one in need.

    more>>

    Police officers in Rome, NY, went the extra mile to give back to their community, helping one in need.

    more>>
  • Teen with cerebral palsy denied prom tickets

    Teen with cerebral palsy denied prom tickets

    Friday, April 28 2017 10:36 PM EDT2017-04-29 02:36:27 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:00 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:00:47 GMT
    Ashley Hamblin already has her dress picked out, but may not be able to wear it. (WSMV)Ashley Hamblin already has her dress picked out, but may not be able to wear it. (WSMV)

    She has her dress, her date, and an extensive hair and makeup plan. It’s all in anticipation of her high school prom, but a Middle Tennessee teen was denied tickets.

    more>>

    She has her dress, her date, and an extensive hair and makeup plan. It’s all in anticipation of her high school prom, but a Middle Tennessee teen was denied tickets.

    more>>
  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    more>>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    more>>
Powered by Frankly