Iacovelli v. New York Times Company

A worker lit a cigarette at lunchtime on the company’s premises.  Within seconds, her dress became a sheet of fire.  She suffered severe first, second and third degree burns over 50% to 60% of her body and was prevented from working for six months.  The court ruled that the company failed to rebut the presumption that her lighting of the cigarette arose out of and in the course of employment because it could be inferred that her eating of lunch in a place provided by the employer and smoking of a cigarette there, as was her custom, were activities consistent with the purposes of the area.  Therefore, the injuries were compensable under the Worker’s Compensation Law.

124 A.D.2d 324, 507 N.Y.S.2d 922 (A.D. 3 Dept. 1986).