Mason v. Lake Dolores Group, LLC, 117 Cal. App. 4th 822 (2004)

James Mason was rendered a paraplegic after he rode down the “Doo Wop Super Drop” water slide and crashed into a dam at the end of the slide that was owned and operated by his employer, Lake Dolores Group (LDG). Shortly before the accident, Mason reported to work but did not clock in. The park was closed and the water slide was turned off, but Mason instructed another employee to turn the water slide on. An insufficient amount of water had pooled in the “runout lane” before Mason descended the slide. Although a jury awarded Mason approximately $4.4 million, the trial court granted LDG’s motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict on the ground that Mason’s negligence claim was barred by the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court and held that substantial evidence supported the jury’s finding that Mason was not acting within the course and scope of his employment when he was injured and that his claim, therefore, was not barred by workers’ compensation.