Submitted February 22, 2019
Petition for Review of an Order of the District of Columbia
Department of Employment Services Compensation Review Board
M. Snyder, with whom Kevin H. Stillman, was on the brief, for
L. Anderson, Senior Assistant Attorney General, with whom
Karl A. Racine, Attorney General, Loren L. Alikhan, Solicitor
General, and Caroline S. Van Zile, Deputy Solicitor General,
filed a statement in lieu of a brief, for respondent.
O. Rollman for intervenor.
Blackburne-Rigsby, Chief Judge, and Fisher and Easterly,
BLACKBURNE-RIGSBY, CHIEF JUDGE
rainy morning, petitioner Deanne Niles was walking across the
College Park Metro station platform on her way to work when
she slipped and fell. Alleging injuries to her ankle,
shoulder, and knee, Ms. Niles, an administrative assistant
for intervenor Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
("WMATA"), filed a claim for benefits under the
District of Columbia Workers' Compensation Act (the
"Act"). An Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ") denied the claim after concluding that her
injuries were noncompensable, citing the well-established
proposition that injuries sustained while commuting to and
from work fall outside the Act's coverage. See
Grayson v. District of Columbia Dep't of
Emp't Servs., 516 A.2d 909, 911 (D.C. 1986). The
Compensation Review Board ("CRB") of the District
of Columbia Department of Employment Services affirmed. Now
on petition for review, Ms. Niles argues that, because WMATA
encourages its employees to ride the Metro transit system and
imposes work-related rules and obligations on its employees
when they do (whether they are on or off duty), her injuries
are compensable under the Act. We affirm.
time of her injury, Ms. Niles lived in Lanham, Maryland and
worked in WMATA's headquarters in downtown D.C. On her
typical commute to work, Ms. Niles would drive from her home
to the College Park Metro station where she would park her
car for the day. She would then ride the Metrorail to the
Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro stop and, from there, walk to
the nearby WMATA office. WMATA allows its employees to ride
the Metrorail and Metrobus for free, but employees are
personally responsible for paying for parking at Metro
stations. On May 5, 2017, rain caused the College Park Metro
platform to become slick. After parking her car in the
adjacent lot that morning, Ms. Niles walked across the
platform, where she slipped and fell, sustaining injuries to
her ankle, shoulder, and knee.
Niles filed a claim for benefits under the Act, seeking
temporary total disability benefits and reimbursement for
medical treatment relating to her injuries. At the
evidentiary hearing before the ALJ, Ms. Niles gave
uncontested testimony that WMATA encourages its employees to
use the Metro system and allows them to ride free of charge.
Ms. Niles also testified that she had no work-related duties
at the College Park Metro station on the day of her injury.
She also acknowledged that, despite the fare subsidy and
WMATA's encouragement that its employees use the Metro,
Metro use by employees was voluntary. The ALJ denied Ms.
Niles's claim, ruling that it was barred by the
"going and coming" rule, which provides that
"injuries sustained off the work premises, while enroute
to or from work, do not fall within the category of injuries
'in the course of employment.'" McKinley v.
District of Columbia Dep't of Emp't Servs., 696
A.2d 1377, 1383 (D.C. 1997) (quoting Grayson, 516
A.2d at 911).
reviewed and affirmed the ALJ's order. The CRB concluded
that, because WMATA did not require Ms. Niles to use the
Metrorail, Ms. Niles's commute on the morning of her
injury was personal and unrelated to her employment. It also
concluded that the ALJ correctly applied the "going and
coming" rule in denying Ms. Niles's claim. This
petition for review followed.
affirm the CRB's decision unless it is "[a]rbitrary,
capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in
accordance with law." D.C. Code § 2-510(a)(3)(A)
(2012 Repl.); Mexicano v. District of Columbia Dep't
of Emp't Servs., 806 A.2d 198, 203 (D.C. 2002).
"We must determine (1) whether the agency made a finding
of fact on each material contested issue of fact; (2) whether
substantial evidence in the record supports each finding; and
(3) whether the conclusions of law follow rationally from the
findings." George Washington Univ. v. District of
Columbia Bd. of Zoning Adjustment, 831 A.2d 921, 931
(D.C. 2003). "[A]lthough we accord weight to the