The rear of her vehicle remained in casino’s driveway when it was involved in a crash.


Jim Walsh, The (Cherry Hill, N.J.) Courier-Post

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — An appellate court has determined Harrah’s Atlantic City is liable for a September 2012 traffic accident that injured one of its employees when she turned into the path of an oncoming car on an Atlantic City street.

The two-judge panel said the casino must cover the cost of the casino worker’s injuries under a workers’ compensation claim because the one foot of the rear of her vehicle had not yet left a casino driveway.

The decision marked the second victory for Carla Burdette, a Harrah’s dealer who was leaving work at the time of the 10 p.m. accident. A judge with the state Division of Workers’ Compensation also ruled for Burdette in May 2013.

Harrah’s contended it had no liability for the accident, noting on appeal that both Burdette and the front of her SUV were in a public roadway when the accident occurred on MGM Mirage Boulevard.

Burdette had left a Harrah’s garage and was turning onto the three-lane street when her vehicle was hit.

But the state appellate panel called the casino’s stance “ultra-rigid,” even as it acknowledged “approximately one foot in length of (Burdette’s) vehicle (was) still in the area of the parking lot controlled by Harrah’s.”

The rear of her vehicle remained in casino’s driveway when it was involved in a crash.

Jim Walsh, The (Cherry Hill, N.J.) Courier-Post

Friday’s ruling included a grainy photograph from a security camera at the scene. It showed the rear bumper of Burdette’s vehicle extending onto Harrah’s property, while the rest of her Ford Explorer stretched across a traffic lane.

The appellate decision noted a key issue was whether Burdette “was still in the course of her employment with Harrah’s when the accident occurred.” It also said a worker is considered to be on the job until they leave their place of employment.

Because part of her car was still on Harrah’s property, the ruling said, Burdette “never fully left her employer’s premises.”

Frank Petro, a Northfield attorney for Burdette, said the ruling was “a reminder that workers’ compensation is intended to protect employees and, therefore, the statute should be liberally interpreted.”

An attorney for Harrah’s could not be reached.

According to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, workers’ compensation in part offers medical treatment, wage replacement and permanent disability compensation to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses.”