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The Court of Appeals of New Mexico decided that injuries incurred during an episode of horseplay can be considered to be a workplace injury for the purposes of workers’ compensation. The case is Motes v. Curry Cty. Adult Det. Ctr., No. A-1-CA-36048, 2018 N.M. App. LEXIS 73 (Ct. App. Nov. 28, 2018).

Amanda Motes worked as a booking specialist at the Curry County Adult Detention Center. Motes had been a booking specialist for approximately five weeks before the incident occurred. Her duties included classifying and booking new inmates, receiving and recording incoming paperwork, visitors and medications, and filing. At first, she worked the day shift while training with various supervisors, and after her training period, she was moved to the night shift. Most of the senior employees worked only day shift, so the night shift was left to less experienced employees. The only senior employees in the facility at night were located in a different department but still had supervisory control over Motes. Upon hiring, the two employees involved in this incident read and signed the safety manual which prohibited horseplay by employees and advised that horseplay “may subject” employees to disciplinary action by their department heads.

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