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Temporary and lessee worker same under act

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In what appears to be the first time the Indiana Court of Appeals has been presented with a joint employer argument in the context of Indiana Code Section 22-3-6-1(a), the Worker's Compensation Act, the appellate court determined that "temporary employee" and "leased employee" are not mutually exclusive terms and are interchangeable.

The main issue in Kenwal Steel Corp. v. John M. Seyring, No. 45A03-0806-CV-294, is whether Elwood Staffing, a staffing agency that places temporary employees, and Kenwal, where Seyring was placed, were joint employers for purposes of the Workers' Compensation Act.

Seyring was injured in an accident while working at Kenwal, filed a worker's compensation claim against Elwood, and filed a complaint alleging Kenwal was negligent. Default judgment was entered against Kenwal; Kenwal's motion to set aside default judgment was granted, but the trial court denied its motion to dismiss.

Kenwal's argument is that because Seyring was a temporary employee, Elwood and Kenwal were joint employers pursuant to I.C. 22-3-6-1, and as his joint employer, the act provides the exclusive remedy for his injuries. The company also argued within the context of the act, temporary employees are equated to leased employees. Seyring argued that temporary employees and leased employees, the term used in the act, are not interchangeable.

The appellate court examined the statutory language of the Workers' Compensation Act and the "Guide to Indiana Worker's Compensation" handbook to rule that the act's reference to "lessor" and "lessee" isn't meant to exclude temporary employees. As such, Elwood was the lessor of Seyring, Kenwal was the lessee, and they were joint employers of him for purposes of the act, wrote Judge Michael Barnes. Seyring is therefore limited to the exclusive remedy provision of the act.

The appellate court also determined Kenwal didn't intentionally waive its right to enforce the exclusive remedy provision of the act in the terms of the company's contract with Elwood. Nothing in the contract could be construed to suggest the company intentionally relinquished its right to enforce that provision of the act, wrote the judge.

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

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  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

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  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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