Congratulations To Robert Heller For His Great Result On This Case:
Reliance insured O-Corp, a tech services company, for worker’s compensation. O-Corp contracted with J-Corp to provide a ten year contract doing computer work. Injured Worker, an O-Corp employee, fell while physically at J-Corp and filed a worker’s comp case against O-Corp and Reliance. Four years later, California Insurance Guarantee Association (aka CIGA) took over for Reliance which went bankrupt. CIGA said Hey, J-Corp, you are IW’s special employer because O-Corp placed her to work at J-Corp. Therefore, your insurance carrier should cover her injury! Under the Insurance Code, if there is “other insurance,” CIGA is out.
Went to trial on the issue of whether J-Corp was the IW’s special employer. Three witnesses testified. The trial judge found that there was no “direction and control” over the IW by J-Corp so there was no special employment relationship between the IW and J-Corp. Because there was no special employment, J-Corp’s work comp carrier was home free.
This was a particularly sweet victory because CIGA usually prevails when it goes to trial on the issue of “special employment” and “other insurance”.