Claims denied in deceased kayakers' case
by Mindy Aguon
Guam - Worker's Compensation claims filed by the families of John Aguon, Michael Bautista, Keith Brian Mendiola, Edward Uson and Roland Jose were denied. The five were tragically killed in June 2004 in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Tingting. A hearing was held before the Workers Compensation Commission as the families were seeking compensation from Seawalker for their loved ones' deaths.
Department of Labor director Manny Cruz recently signed an order denying any survivor benefits. The findings determined the five "engaged in willful and obviously dangerous misconduct" when they took a kayak out in the Seawalker pontoon and were swept out in the rough seas. The Commission noted that the five acted outside the course and scope of their employment.
Cruz added that awarding compensation in this case would not be appropriate. He says the rule does not provide for an employee to be entitled to compensation, no matter the circumstances and employer's instructions.