The next case, Venture-Newberg Perini Stone and Webster v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation et al, had that spare simplicity that makes some legal cases sound almost like Bible stories. A workman heading to a plant was hurt. Is he exempt from compensation because of the “coming and going” exclusion that keeps workers from being covered if hurt on their commutes? Or did the job of Ronald Daugherty require him to be near the plant? Did his job begin when he got there?
“The employer didn’t send him, he was not hired until he had gone through the screening at the plant,” argued Michael Resis. “He was not on call that day and there was no emergency . . . he chose to travel to pursue a job opportunity.”
Jonathan Nessler represented the compensation commission. “Ronald Daugherty testified he was to be within a half hour of the plant for emergencies,” Nessler said, deploying a gesture I immediately dubbed in my mind “the spider”— his right hand open, as if holding a ball from above, tapping his fingertips on one spot on the table, then another. The hopping spider then became a bouncing cup. Tap, tap, then swish to drive his point home.