Under Lab. Code 3366 a civilian who assists any peace officer in active law enforcement service at the request of the peace officer’s request is deemed to be a public employee as a matter of law and is entitled to workers compensation for any injury sustained while providing that assistance.  However, since workers compensation is available, the person assisting the police officer cannot recover in tort from the police officer or the employing government entity.  Here, the police asked plaintiffs who lived nearby to check on someone who had just called 911 for some unspecified help.  In asking for assistance, the police officer misrepresented the situation as being likely due to a weather situation; whereas, in fact, it was a murder, and the murderer savagely attacked plaintiffs when they showed up to help.  This case holds that assisting in response to the 911 call for help was “active law enforcement service” so the plaintiffs were entitled to worker’s compensation and not tort recovery.

California Court of Appeal, Third District (Hull, J.); June 4, 2018; 2018 Cal. App. LEXIS 522