Supreme Court to Review Statutory Employer Case

In the underlying case, Six L’s Packing Co. V. WCAB (Williamson), 2 A.3d. 1268 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2010), the Commonwealth Court upheld a determination that Six L was a statutory employer under Section 302(a) of the Act. The determination was made without applying the test articulated in the seminal case of MacDonald v. Levinson Steel Co., 302 Pa. 287, 153 A. 424 (1930).

Under Section 302(a) an entity which contracts with another to have work performed of a kind which is a regular or recurrent part of the business, occupation, profession or trade of such person will be deemed contractor, and the other such person a subcontractor.

Here, the claimant worked for Garcia as a truck driver. Garcia did not have worker’s compensation insurance. Six L contracted with Garcia & Sons to provide transportation. Six L farmed, packed, and distributed tomatoes; it grew tomatoes in Pennsylvania and processed tomatoes in Maryland; the transportation of tomatoes between the two locations was a regular and recurrent part of its business. Given that Six L was the contractor and Garcia & Sons was the subcontractor under Section 302(a), the claimant established that Six L was his statutory employer.

While Six L argued that it could not be a statutory employer because it owned the fields where the tomatoes were picked, the warehouse where the tomatoes were packed, and the processing centers where the tomatoes were delivered, the Commonwealth Court noted that the Macdonald test was not applicable to Section 302(a) of the Act and rejected Six L’s argument.

Six L filed an Appeal and the Supreme Court will address the following issues: whether a claimant must meet the five part McDonald test to establish that an entity is a statutory employer and whether an owner of property can be deemed a “statutory employer” under the Act and existing case law, in the face of 80 years of precedent finding the contrary.

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