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The Arkansas Court of Appeals has reversed a determination by the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission that an injured construction worker was an employee of a contractor he sued after he was struck by a truck driven by one of the company’s workers.
The appeals court ruled Wednesday that the commission was wrong to find that an employment relationship existed between Jacen Gann and Bobby Kennedy Construction Co.
Mr. Gann was injured in September 2019 after being struck by a truck driven by an employee of BKC at a job site.
Mr. Gann, who worked for CK Asphalt LLC, filed a workers comp claim with his employer but also initiated a separate personal injury suit against BKC and the truck driver.
BKC argued that an employment relationship existed between itself and Mr. Gann and that the matter should be the subject of exclusive remedy protections under comp, not tort law.
An administrative law judge determined that Mr. Gann was BKC’s dual employee on the date of the injury and that exclusive remedy did, in fact, apply.
Mr. Gann appealed the determination, but the commission agreed with the judge, finding that a contract for hire existed solely because BKC employees supervised CK Asphalt workers at the job site on the date of the injury.
In reversing the commission’s decision, the appeals court ruled that there was no express or implied employment contract between Mr. Gann and BKC for the purposes of comp exclusive remedy provisions.
The court remanded the case back to the workers comp commission for an order consistent with its opinion.