This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).

STATE OF MINNESOTA

IN COURT OF APPEALS

CX-96-2207

Carmen Rosario Bagley,

Appellant,

vs.

Eric Paulson,

Respondent.

Filed February 25, 1997

Affirmed

Davies, Judge

Hennepin County District Court

File No. 9511198

Douglas E. Schmidt, Phillip R. Krass, Timothy F. Moynihan, Krass Monroe, P.A., 1100 Southpoint Office Center, 1650 W. 82nd St., Bloomington, MN 55431-1447 (for Appellant)

Karen Imus Johnson, Brian A. Wood, Rider, Bennett, Egan & Arundel, L.L.P., 2000 Metropolitan Centre, 333 S. Seventh St., Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for Respondent)

Considered and decided by Norton, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Davies, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N

DAVIES, Judge

Appellant seeks reversal of a summary judgment ruling that the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Act provides the exclusive remedy for the injuries she sustained while attending an employer-sponsored party. We affirm.

FACTS

In July 1993, appellant Carmen Rosario Bagley sustained multiple leg fractures when she slipped and fell at an after-work party sponsored by her employer, Navarre Corporation, and held at the home of respondent Eric Paulson, Navarre's chief executive officer. In attendance were Navarre salespeople, Navarre office staff, and several key vendors. The purpose of the party was to "kick off" Navarre's national sales meetings (scheduled to start the next day) and to foster business relationships between Navarre employees and its key vendors.

Prior to attending the party, appellant, at her employer's request, met 10 to 15 out-of-town Navarre salespeople at the airport and accompanied them to their hotel. From the hotel, appellant escorted the salespeople to the party. Shortly after arriving at the party, appellant slipped and fell on the wet deck in respondent's back yard.

Appellant brought suit against respondent for negligence. The district court granted respondent's motion for summary judgment on the ground that the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Act provides appellant's exclusive remedy for her injury. Appellant appeals that decision.

D E C I S I O N

On appeals from summary judgments, this court must consider two questions:

(1) whether there are any genuine issues of material fact and (2) whether the lower courts erred in their application of the law.

State by Cooper v. French, 460 N.W.2d 2, 4 (Minn. 1990).

I. Genuine Issues of Material Fact

Appellant first argues that a genuine issue of fact remains regarding her work-related duties on the evening of the injury. Respondent stated, in his deposition, that appellant was responsible for escorting the out-of-town salespeople from the airport to the hotel and then to the party. According to appellant, this testimony conflicts with her affidavit, submitted in response to respondent's motion for summary judgment, which states that her work-related responsibilities ended at the hotel. Appellant's affidavit, however, directly contradicts her earlier statements. In her deposition, appellant testified that she "was to go to the airport and pick up the salespeople and bring them to the party." In a recorded telephone interview conducted 12 days after the accident, appellant said that it was her job to pick up everyone from the airport and bring them to respondent's house. While these conflicting facts may present a material issue, it is not genuine. See Banbury v. Omnitrition Int'l, Inc., 533 N.W.2d 876, 881 (Minn. App. 1995) ("A self-serving affidavit that contradicts earlier damaging deposition testimony is not sufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact.").

II. Application of the Law

Appellant next argues that the district court erred in determining as a matter of law that appellant was in the course of her employment at the time of her injury.

According to the Minnesota Workers' Compensation Act:

Every employer * * * is liable to pay compensation in every case of personal injury or death of an employee arising out of and in the course of employment without regard to the question of negligence.

Minn. Stat. § 176.021, subd. 1 (1996). Further, "[t]he liability of an employer * * * is exclusive and in the place of any other liability to such employee * * * ." Minn. Stat. § 176.031 (1996).

For an injury to arise out of employment, there must be a causal connection between the injury and the employment. Gibberd by Gibberd v. Control Data Corp., 424 N.W.2d 776, 780 (Minn. 1988). It is not necessary that the employment be the proximate cause of the injury. Id. It is enough if the injury follows "'as a natural incident of the work.'" Hanson v. Robitshek-Schneider Co., 209 Minn. 596, 599, 297 N.W. 19, 21 (1941) (quoting Novack v. Montgomery Ward & Co., 158 Minn. 495, 498, 198 N.W. 290, 292 (1924)).

Here, appellant was at the party at respondent's home by invitation and because she had been asked by her supervisor to accompany the out-of-town salespeople from the airport to the party. Appellant would not have been at respondent's home, but for her employment.

To satisfy the "in the course of employment" requirement, an employee's injury must occur "within the time and space boundaries of employment." Foley v. Honeywell, Inc., 488 N.W.2d 268, 272 (Minn. 1992) (citing Gibberd, 424 N.W.2d at 780)). When an injury occurs off the business premises or outside of regular business hours, the employee is still entitled to compensation if "'the employee was being of service to the employer'" at the time of injury. Sandmeyer v. City of Bemidji, 281 Minn. 217, 220, 161 N.W.2d 318, 320 (1968) (quoting Blattner v. Loyal Order of Moose, 264 Minn. 79, 81, 117 N.W.2d 570, 572 (1962)).

In light of the total context, appellant was being of service to her employer by escorting the out-of-town guests to the party and by being at the party to meet and socialize with the salespeople, other employees, and vendors.

Affirmed.