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Workers comp is exclusive remedy for widow of 'borrowed employee': Court


CHICAGO—Workers compensation is the exclusive remedy for the widow of an auto dealership employee killed on the job while working as a “borrowed employee” at an affiliated business, according to an Illinois appellate court.

Milovan Prodanic was a maintenance worker and driver for Grossinger Chevrolet in Palatine, Ill., court records show. In 2008, Mr. Prodanic was sent by Grossinger to repair an overhead garage door at Grossinger City Autocorp Inc. in Chicago, a Toyota dealership with the same owners as Mr. Prodanic's employer.

The garage door was activated while Mr. Prodanic was working, and he died after falling from an elevated work platform, records show.

Mr. Prodanic's wife filed a wrongful death lawsuit against City Autocorp. But a Cook County, Ill., circuit court found that workers comp was the exclusive remedy for Ms. Prodanic since her husband a “borrowed employee” of City Autocorp.

In her appeal, Ms. Prodanic argued that her husband should not be considered a loaned employee under Illinois workers comp law because Mr. Prodanic's salary, as well as workers comp coverage, was paid exclusively by the Chevrolet dealership.

Illinois' 1st District Appellate Court upheld the circuit court’s decision in a unanimous panel ruling on Thursday. In its decision, the court said workers become the employees of companies to which they are loaned while performing special tasks.

Though Mr. Prodanic's employment was provided by the Chevrolet dealership, the appellate court said that he should also be considered a City Autocorp employee because managers at that company had the power to direct his work.

“The record... shows that at a minimum, an implied contract for hire existed between (Mr. Prodanic) and City Autocorp,” the ruling reads.