FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW AND
trial in this matter was held on March 2, 1994, in Kalispell,
Montana. Petitioner, Janet Strickland (claimant), was present
and represented by Mr. Allan M. McGarvey and Mr. Roger M.
Sullivan. The respondent, State Compensation Insurance Fund
(State Fund), was represented by Mr. Charles G. Adams.
Claimant, Robert Evans, R. Scott Bucher, Wayne Strickland,
Marla Handford, Michelle Osborne, Leroy McFadden, and Joseph
Tackett testified. Exhibits 1 through 5 were admitted by
stipulation. Exhibit 6 was admitted over the objection of the
claimant. Exhibits 7 and 8 were admitted over the State
Fund's objections. Exhibit 9 was admitted without
parties agreed to the Court's consideration of the
deposition of R. Scott Bucher. A deposition was also taken of
Gene Hunter. However, that deposition is not to be, and has
not been, considered.
Presented: The claimant was severely injured in an
automobile accident that occurred at the intersection where
her employer's business was located. The issue presented
in this case is whether claimant was acting in the course and
scope of her employment at the time of the accident.
considered the Pretrial Order, the testimony presented at
trial, the credibility of the witnesses, the deposition of
Mr. Bucher, the exhibits, and the parties arguments, the
Court makes the following:
the time of trial the claimant was 34 years of age.
the times mentioned herein, the employer, Joe Tackett
(Tackett) and his wife, Sherry Tackett, operated a small
restaurant known as Steaks 'n Stuff Restaurant. The
restaurant was located in the Flathead Valley at the inte
rsection of Highway 2 West, Highway 40 and Half Moon Road.
Claimant went to work as a waitress for Steaks 'n Stuff
in July 1992.
addition to claimant, the Tacketts also employed Marla
Handford as a cook and Scott Bucher as a dishwasher. The
Tacketts also worked in the restaurant.
the Tacketts were not at the restaurant, Marla Handford was
in charge. With at least the tacit approval of the Tacketts,
she was claimant's supervisor during those times.
August 21, 1992, claimant went to work between 3:00 p.m. and
4:00 p.m. Marla Handford was already at work.
Claimant's regular job duties did not include running
errands for her employer, although on one prior occasion
claimant had gone to pick up hamburger at Handford's
approximately 4:00 p.m. the claimant left work, got into her
car and drove off on an errand. She was apparently returning
from the errand when at 4:35 p.m. she was involved in an
automobile accident at the intersection of Highway 2 West and
Highway 40. The accident was a serious one and claimant
suffered head injuries.
factual controversy in this case concerns the purpose of the
claimant's errand. Claimant testified that Handford ...