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Bonner-Hill v. Southland Waste Sys. of Ga., Inc.

Court of Appeals of Georgia

November 18, 2014

BONNER-HILL
v.
SOUTHLAND WASTE SYSTEMS OF GEORGIA, INC

Reconsideration denied December 4, 2014 -- Cert. applied for.

Workers' compensation. Houston Superior Court. Before Judge Nunn.

Buzzell, Graham & Welsh, Stephen M. Welsh, for appellant.

Speed, Seta, Martin & Trivett, Stephanie A. Rockwell, for appellee.

DOYLE, Presiding Judge. Miller, J., concurs. Dillard, J., concurs in judgment only.

OPINION

Page 804

Doyle, Presiding Judge.

Latoya Bonner-Hill appeals the denial of her claim for workers' compensation benefits as a result of her husband's death.[1] For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

The record shows that Adonis Hill was hired by Southland Waste Systems of Georgia, Inc. (" Southland" ), on February 15, 2010. Southland's operation is located in a large building off State Route 247, which runs in a general north and south direction. Running parallel to State Route 247 is a Georgia Southern and Florida Railway railroad track, which must be crossed in order to access Southland, and there is no other point of entry for a vehicle. The crossing consists of a short paved entrance road, which then continues slightly past [330 Ga.App. 152] Southland's building. After crossing the railroad tracks, an employee may turn right in front of Southland's building to access the parking area, which is between Southland's building and other structures.

Southland leases the property from B& D Services, Inc., and the property consists of " [a]pproximately 2.0 acres with a [shop building] and all improvements thereon at the western side of [State Route 247] ... ." The lease also states that " [t]he Leased Premises

Page 805

shall include access to the property described above over an entrance road presently located on Lessor's property running from [State Route 247] to the [2.0 acre property]." This entrance road was for " ingress and egress including use by [Southland's] vehicles and vehicles of its employees, and business invitees."

Within a month of hire, on March 4, 2010, Hill was headed to work and driving southbound on State Route 247. As he turned right into the entrance roadway to cross the railroad tracks, his vehicle was struck by a northbound train. The collision caused numerous injuries, resulting in Hill's death.

Hill's wife filed a claim for workers' compensation death benefits on behalf of herself and three minor children.[2] Southland defended against payment of those benefits, asserting that Hill's ...


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