No "News" Here: Delaware IAB Rules Newspaper Carrier Is Independent Contractor

This week's headlines coming out of the Delaware IAB included a decision involving employment relationship.  In Michael Watson v. Independent Newspapers, IAB# 1349323 (6/17/10), the Board considered the defense that the claimant, who also held full time employment at Hanover Foods, was an independent contractor and not an employee entitled to coverage under Title 19, Chapter 23.  The employer was in the business of printing and distributing newspapers to homes, stores and boxes for the Delaware State News, Milford Chronicle and Harrington Journal.  The claimant was a carrier responsible for providing his own vehicle and gas, proof of automobile insurance, Social Security card, completed W-9 form, the name of a substitute driver to cover when he was unavailable and a substitute vehicle.

In ruling that the claimant was an independent contractor and not an employee of Independent Newspapers, the Board noted that the claimant provided his own tools and materials for performing the work to include:

vehicle, gasoline, auto insurance, rubber bands and plastic bags.  The claimant had the latitude to determine the manner in which the job was accomplished as long as the papers were delivered by 6:00 a.m. daily.

Independent Newspapers did not withhold taxes from the claimant's pay and issued a 1099 at the end of the year.

The attorneys appearing in this case were Walt Schmittinger for the claimant and Wade Adams for the employer.

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