Special Action - Industrial Commission ICA Claim No.
20162-730266 Carrier Claim No. W201603922 Marceline A.
Lavelle, Administrative Law Judge
Hendrickson & Palmer, P.C., Phoenix By Adam P. Palmer
Counsel for Petitioner Employee
Industrial Commission of Arizona, Phoenix By Jason M. Porter
Counsel for Respondent
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Charles W.
Ferris, Jr. Counsel for Respondents Employer and Carrier
Paul J. McMurdie delivered the opinion of the Court, in which
Presiding Judge Diane M. Johnsen and Judge David D. Weinzweig
This is a special action review of an Industrial Commission
of Arizona award and decision upon review for a
non-compensable claim. The issues raised by the claimant can
be summarized as whether the physical assault that caused
Carlos Ibarra's injuries "arose out of" his
employment. We hold: (1) an assault is caused by the
relations and conditions of the employment (the
"friction and strain" of the employment) when the
claimant and the other party to the assault have no personal
contact outside of the employment, regardless of whether
other job-related factors exist; and (2) the passage of time
between an original dispute and an assault, known as a
"cooling off" period, is not material to the
question of whether the assault was work related when parties
have no personal relationship outside of employment and all
interactions between them occurred at work. We set aside the
award and remand for further proceedings consistent with this
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Ibarra worked for the respondent employer, Arizona Department
of Corrections ("ADOC"), as a correctional officer.
He was injured during a fight with Jihad Bilal, another
correctional officer at the prison. He filed a workers'
compensation claim for injuries sustained during the
altercation. The claim was denied for benefits by the
respondent carrier, State of Arizona, and Ibarra timely
requested a hearing.
The ALJ heard testimony from Ibarra, two other correctional
officers, and three supervisory officers. Ibarra and Bilal
testified they have known each other for at least four years.
The men had a history of hostile work-related interactions
culminating in a fight on August 11, 2016. They have never
socialized, or even spoken to each other, outside of work.
Testimony about six incidents between Ibarra and Bilal was
presented. The first incident occurred shortly after Ibarra
began working at ADOC's Meadows Unit in 2012, when Bilal
refused to assist Ibarra and correctional officer Travis
Murty in performing "roll-ups," i.e., preparing
inmates for the following day's activities. After that
incident, Ibarra asked his supervisor, Sergeant Babeu, not to
post him with Bilal.
Sergeant Babeu continued to post Ibarra with Bilal and the
second incident occurred in a prison control room. Ibarra
testified that Bilal asked him many personal questions about
his family: where his mother worked, where his sister worked,
lived, and went to school, etc. Officer Murty, who was also
present at the control room, testified that Bilal insinuated
he wanted to have sexual relations with Ibarra's sister.
The third incident occurred when Ibarra was working in the
prison yard. Ibarra asked another officer to bring him a gate
key. According to Ibarra, Bilal unilaterally left his
assigned post to retrieve the key and verbally abused Ibarra
in the process. Ibarra subsequently informed Lieutenant
Perron about his difficulties with Bilal. In response, Perron
directed Ibarra to speak to his direct supervisor.
The fourth incident occurred in May 2015. While walking down
a narrow hallway during a shift change, Ibarra met Bilal and
Lieutenant Perron coming from the opposite direction. Ibarra
testified that Bilal intentionally bumped into him hard
enough to cause him to stumble into the wall. Perron
testified he was ...