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COA rules workers’ comp is remedy for temporary employee

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A man who suffered severe heat stroke while working as a temporary employee failed to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals this his only employer was the temp agency.

Brian Frontz filed a lawsuit against Middletown Enterprises Inc. after he sustained permanent injuries while working for the company. He argued the Worker’s Compensation Act was not the avenue for him to file a claim against Middletown because Wimmer Temporaries Inc., the company that had assigned Frontz to work for Middletown, was his sole employer.

Blackford Superior Court disagreed and granted summary judgment for Middletown.

On appeal, Frontz asserted the trial court erred in finding that Middletown was his joint employer.

In Louise Frontz, Guardian of the Person and Estate of Brian O’Neal Frontz, and Brian Frontz v. Middletown Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Sinclair Glass, 05A04-1307-PL-364, the Court of Appeals disagreed and affirmed the trial court’s ruling.

Pointing to Kenwal Steel Corp. v. Seyring, 903 N.E.2d 510, 515 (Ind. Ct. App. 2009), which found that Ind. Code 22-3-6-1 establishes the lessee of temporary employees is a joint employer, the Court of Appeals found that Frontz’s only remedy is to file workers’ compensation claims against both his employer and the company to which he was leased.

“The trial court relied on Kenwal in deciding that Wimmer and Middletown were joint employers of Frontz because Wimmer, as a professional employment agency that provides temporary workers to other businesses, was the lessor and Middletown was the lessee of Frontz,” Judge Melissa May wrote for the court. “Frontz invites us to reconsider our decision in Kenwal, but we decline his invitation.”
 

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  2. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  3. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  4. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  5. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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