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Injuries Sustained As Result of Illegal Activity Not Compensable under Wyoming Worker's Compensation Act

In November 2011, the Wyoming Supreme Court held that a prisoner who is injured on the job as the result of an altercation with another prisoner is not eligible for workers' compensation benefits.

Steven DeLoge, a prisoner at Wyoming State Penitentiary, was working in the kitchen when he became embroiled in a heated exchange with Scott Bronson, another prisoner. Bronson head-butted DeLoge, breaking his nose.

DeLoge filed a workers' compensation claim, which the Wyoming Workers' Safety and Compensation Division denied on the ground that DeLoge's injuries were the result of illegal activities. The Division's conclusion was subsequently upheld by the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH).

The district court affirmed the conclusion of the OAH. On appeal, the Wyoming Supreme Court held that because Bronson's head-butt was a battery, a criminal offense under state law, it was an illegal activity which made DeLoge ineligible for workers' compensation benefits. See: DeLoge v. State ex rel. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div., 264 P. 3d 28 (2011), WY 154.

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Related legal case

DeLoge v. State ex rel. Workers' Safety & Comp. Div.