Opinion:Brown v. Infrastructure & Energy Alternatives, 2021 OK CIV APP 10
Subject matter:Workers’ Compensation
Date Decided:September 18, 2020. 
Trial Court:Workers’ Compensation Commission
Route to this Court:Appeal of Order of Commission finding Petitioner’s injury was not compensable; assigned to Division III of the Court of Civil Appeals. 
Facts:Employee was carpooling with several other workers to the job site; at the last turn into the job site, the car was hit by a truck from oncoming traffic, seriously injuring employee. Employee sought workers’ compensation benefits, but employer objected arguing the claim was not in the course and scope of employment because employee was injured as part of his transportation to and from his or her place of employment, which by statutory definition is not a compensable injury. The ALJ agreed and denied compensation; the Commission also affirmed. Employee appealed. 
Standard of Review:The appellate court may modify, reverse, remand for rehearing or set aside a judgment if it was ‘[a]ffected by [an] error of law’ or ‘[c]learly erroneous in view of the reliable, material, probative and substantial competent evidence ….’ 85A O.S. Supp. 2014 §78(C). The Court’s review of legal questions is de novo. On issues of fact, the Commission’s order will be affirmed if the record contains substantial evidence in support of the facts upon which it is based and the order is otherwise free of error. 
Analysis:Distinguished from Pina v. American Piping Inspection, Inc., 2018 OK 40, 419 P.3d 231, wherein employee was engaged in “employer-directed travel–a special task–to haul supplies to the oil rig.” Here there were no such analogous facts and employee was simply commuting to his job site. Nothing in the record to indicate that employer directed employee to use the per diem employee received for travel-related expenses; the per diem could be used on anything by the employee. Per diem payment was “insufficient to transform a daily commute into a compensable, employer-directed travel.”
Vote:Mitchel, J. (author), Swinton, J., Pemberton, J., concur. 
Other: Companion case with Case No. 118391; Petition for Certiorari denied 8-0 on March 8, 2021; mandate issued April 7, 2021.