Workers' Compensation

Arkansas: Special Employer Enjoys Exclusive Remedy Defense in Wrongful Death Action Filed Against It

An Arkansas appellate court held that the state’s Workers’ Compensation Commission did not err when it determined that a deceased worker was the defendant-company’s “special” employee since, at the time of the worker’s fatal injury, the defendant-company had the right to control the work being done by the worker and where the Commission properly found that the worker had showed assent to the terms of the staffing agreement in place between the defendant-company and a staffing company that recruited the deceased worker and supplied him to the defendant. Quoting Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the court said that when a general employer lends an employee to a special employer, the special employer becomes liable for workers’ compensation only if (a) the employee has made a contract for hire, express or implied, with the special employer; (b) the work being done is essentially that of the special employer; and (c) the special employer has the right to control the details of the work. The court indicated the undisputed testimony indicated that staffing agency recruited employees for the defendant-company, but that once the employees went to work at the defendant’s facility, the defendant dictated the hours worked, set the rate of pay, could discipline the individuals and even terminate them. Once the staffing company hired and supplied an employee to the defendant, the staffing company’s primary function was to process payroll. As a special employer, the defendant enjoyed immunity from tort suit.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is a leading commentator and expert on the law of workers’ compensation.

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance. Bracketed citations link to lexis.com.

See Estate of Bogar v. Welspun Pipes, Inc., 2014 Ark. App. 536, 2014 Ark. App. LEXIS 768 (Oct. 8, 2014) [2014 Ark. App. 536, 2014 Ark. App. LEXIS 768 (Oct. 8, 2014)]

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 67.02 [67.02]

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law.

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