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The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of New York on Thursday ruled that a distributor of goods and a trucking service must each pay half of the workers compensation claim costs for a truck driver injured while working for both companies.
James Mitchell was hired as a tractor truck driver to haul and deliver goods for Eaton’s Trucking Service, Inc., which had contracted with Quality Carriers Inc. to transport products for Quality’s customers. In 2015, Mr. Mitchell, whose employee paperwork featured the Quality company logo, filed a workers compensation claim for injuries to his right hand, wrist, arm and shoulder, identifying both Eaton and Quality as his employers, according to documents in Matter of James Mitchell, claimant, v. Eaton’s Trucking Service Inc. et al., respondents, and Quality Carriers Inc., et al., appellant Workers Compensation Board, respondent, filed in the court’s 3rd Department in Albany, New York.
Following a hearing, a workers compensation law judge determined that Mr. Mitchell had an occupational disease of right carpal tunnel syndrome and found that Eaton was his general employer and Quality was his special employer, and that each was liable for 50% of the workers compensation awards.
On Quality’s administrative appeal, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board upheld that determination. Quality and its workers compensation carrier appealed again to the New York Supreme Court’s appellate division, whose judges affirmed the early ruling, stating that both employers shared responsibility of employees and that “Quality had sufficient control over the ‘details and ultimate result’ of claimant’s work, and Quality’s working relationship with claimant was ‘sufficient in kind and degree so that (Quality) may be deemed (to be his) employer,’” the ruling states.
Officials with Quality could not be immediately reached for comment.
CARLSBAD, Calif.—The phone doesn’t ring as much in workers compensation claim manager Deborah Konkel’s office in Mondovi, Wisconsin, as it did before her company Marten Transport Ltd. began testing its new truck drivers for soft-muscle tissue pain before they embarked on their first cross-county delivery.