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Morris James does not have to pay a paralegal’s workers’ compensation claims for an injury he suffered while rounding the bases during a softball game played by firm employees, a Delaware Superior Court judge has ruled.

After nearly three years of litigation, Judge Ferris W. Wharton said last week that William Weller, a paralegal for Morris James’ bankruptcy practice, was not entitled to the benefits because he had ruptured his Achilles tendon outside the scope of his employment with one of Delaware’s best-known law firms.

The ruling reversed an earlier finding by the state Industrial Accident Board that participation on the team was an employment-related activity that benefited the firm by boosting employee productivity. Wharton, however, said that the board’s decision “misconstrues” settled law and essentially “makes up” a new factor for deciding whether employers are required to pay the benefits.

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Tom McParland

Tom McParland of New York Law Journal can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TMcParlandALM.

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