Trial Notebook: Employee – Worker’s Compensation

Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority is an employer under the workers' compensation act. See Nunnally v. Fulton DeKalb Hosp. Authority, 171 Ga. App. 12, 318 S.E.2d 759 (1984).

Alter Ego—Direct Action Employ

Where an employer fails to have workers' compensation insurance, a direct action against the officers and owners is authorized. Samuel v. Baitcher, 247 Ga. 71, 274 S.E.2d 327 (1981).

Statutory Employer

A mere owner of property is not a statutory employer or a "principal contractor" where the owner has no contractual obligation of performance to another. See long discussion and complicated analysis in Yoho v. Ringier of America, Inc., 263 Ga. 338, 434 S.E.2d 57 (1993).

Where there is no evidence to indicate that an owner is under a contractual obligation to anyone to either cut timber on the tract in question or to provide any other service in connection with the cutting of timber, there is no basis for a finding that the owner was in the principal contractor/subcontractor relationship. Since secondary liability imposed upon this code section is predicated upon the existence of the principal contractor/sub-contractor relationship, this provision of the Compensation Act is not intended to cover all employers who let out work on contract, but is limited to those who contract to perform certain work, such as the furnishing of goods and services for another and then subletting in whole or part such work. See Evans v. Hawkins, 114 Ga. App. 120, 150 S.E.2d 324 (1966). See also, American Mutual Liability Insurance Company v. Fuller, 123 Ga. App. 585, 181 S.E.2d 876 (1971) and International Indemnity Company v. White 174 Ga. App. 773, 331 S.E.2d 37 (1985).

Where employee was a police officer for City of Atlanta and obtained permission from City to work during off-time as a security officer for theater. While working at theater, employee was shot and killed. Court decided that since City has full control of employee at all times, and that employee was "on call" for any necessity by City (riot, emergency, etc.) and that employee was performing the duties of a police officer at time he was shot and killed, that the City and the theater should share liability for workers' compensation benefits. See United States Fire Insurance Co. et al v. City of Atlanta, et al, 135 Ga. App. 390, 217 S.E.2d 647 (1975).

R.E. Thomas v. Brunswick Pulp & Paper Company, 171 Ga. App. 903, 321 S.E.2d 412 (1984).

Contractor with less than three employees is not required to pay compensation benefits to subcontractors (independent contractors) who did not have compensation. Howell v. Parker, 171 Ga. App. 101, 318 S.E.2d 811 (1984). See also Bradshaw v. Glass, 252 Ga. 429, 314 S.E.2d 233 (1984).

An owner is not a contractor within the meaning of the statutory employer act. Modlin v. Black & Decker Mfg. Co., 170 Ga. App. 477, 317 S.E.2d 255 (1984). G & M Quality Builders, Inc. v. Dennison, 173 Ga. App. 578 (1985). Smith v. Cornette, 173 Ga. App. 577, 327 S.E.2d 774 (1985).

Statutory Employer—Contractual Obligations to Have Workers' Compensation

Where out-of-state contractor had no employees in the State of Georgia, contractor was nevertheless required to provide workers' compensation because under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-124(b), any employer purchasing workers' compensation coverage is estopped from denying coverage. See 34C: O.C.G.A. § 34-9-124(b). Furthermore the injured employee became a third-party beneficiary to the contractor's workers' compensation because of a contract between the owner and the contractor hired to do the relevant work. See all in: Murph v. Maynard Fixturecraft, Inc. et al., 252 Ga. App. 483, 555 S.E.2d 845 (2001).

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