Pollock v Girl Scouts of So. Alabama Inc (2015) H&FLR 2015-25

Dana Louise Pollock v Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama Inc (2015) H&FLR 2015-25

Court of Civil Appeals (Alabama)

27 February 2015

Coram: Thompson PJ, Donaldson, Pittman, Thomas and Moore JJ

Appearing for the Plaintiff: Not identified
Appearing for the Defendant: Not identified

Catchwords: Alabama – workers compensation – arising out of employment – in the course of employment – horse riding

Facts: The plaintiff was employed by the defendant as a facility named Camp Scoutshire Woods.  She was  employed as its business manager and assistant to the camp director.  It was customary for the camp’s horse director to arrange a hose ride for staff of the camp at the end of the six week summer camp program.  It was not part of the plaintiff’s duties to take part in this ride, nor was it part of her remuneration, and the defendant did not derive a benefit from it.

When the ride took place on 29 June 2011, the plaintiff’s horse bolted and she fell, sustaining a back injury.  The plaintiff claimed compensation under Alabama’s Workers’ Compensation Act.  The Act requires that, for an injury to be compensable, it must arise out of and in the course of employment: Ala. Code 1975, §25-5-1(8).  The defendant sought and was granted summary dismissal of the claim on the basis that the injury did not so arise: Pollock v Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama Inc (Mobile Cir. Ct, unknown judge,  18 February 2014, unreported).  The plaintiff appealed.

Held: Per curiam, dismissing the appeal, that –

1. The phrases “arising out of” and “in the course of” in §25-5-1(8) denote two distinct concepts and both must be met to bring a case within the Act.

Ex parte Shelby County Health Care Authority, 850 So. 2d 332 (Ala. 2002), followed.

2. The criteria for determining whether an injury has arisen out of and in the course of employment are not closed.  However, the Court took particular note that –
(a) The ride was voluntary and recreational and unrelated to the plaintiff’s duties as business manager and assistant to the camp director.  Further, it was not naturally related to or incidental to her work.
(b) The defendant derived no benefit from the holding of the ride.
(c) While the defendant permitted the plaintiff to take part in the ride, it did not encourage her to do so.

Young v Mutual Savings Life Insurance Co, 541 So.2d 24 (Ala. Civ. App. 1989); Ex parte Shelby County Health Care Authority, 850 So. 2d 332 (Ala. 2002); Moore’s Case, 330 Mass. 1, 110 NE.2d 764 (1953); Wooten v Roden, 260 Ala. 606, 71 So.2d 802 (1954), followed.

Board of Managers of City of Birmingham Retirement and Relief System v Elliott, 532 So.2d 1019 (Ala. Civ. App. 1998); Ex parte Holton, 886 So.2d 83 (Ala. 2003); Kennedy v.Cochran, 475 So.2d 872 (Ala. Civ. App. 1985), distinguished.


The Court’s judgment is available here.


Heather ad March 2015

Vincent Petit v French Republic (2014) H&FLR 2014-34

Vincent Petit v French Republic (2014) H&FLR 2014-34

Administrative Court of Appeal at Nantes (France)

21 July 2014

Coram: Not identified.

Appearing for the Plaintiff: Ms Corinne Lepage (of Huglo Lepage Associés Conseil)
Appearing for the Defendant: Not identified

Catchwords: France – horse riding – algae – gas – death of horse – failure to prevent contamination – liability

Facts: On 28 July 2009 the plaintiff rode his horse onto a beach at Saint-Michel-en-Greve. The beach was contaminated by an outbreak of green algae which was giving off hydrogen sulfide gas as it decomposed. A sign had been placed at the entrance to the beach advising the public to avoid the algae and warning of a threat to health. The plaintiff’s horse became bogged in a mudflat and the prolonged exposure to the gas caused the plaintiff to lose consciousness and the horse to die.

The plaintiff brought proceedings for the loss of his horse against the French state on the basis that it had failed to take proper steps to prevent an outbreak of green algae. The proceeding was dismissed by the Administrative Tribunal at Rennes: Vincent Petit v French Republic (2012), Le Figaro, 29 June 2012. The plaintiff appealed.

Held: Allowing the appeal, that –

1.  The state was responsible for the outbreak of algae because it had not adequately implemented national or European rules on preventing contamination of waters through agricultural activities. Such contamination was accepted as the cause of algal blooms.

2.  The plaintiff had failed to take adequate care, inasmuch as he had taken his horse into a part of the beach particularly exposed to algae. As such, liability was apportioned two-thirds against plaintiff and one third against the defendant.


A written judgment has not been released. This report has been compiled based on the Court’s communiqué and on the reports in Le Figaro of 5 August 2009, 29 June 2012 and 21 July 2014, Le Télégramme of 21 July 2014 and La Voix du Nord of 21 July 2014.