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Industrial Commission v. Meddock

Supreme Court of Arizona

May 19, 1947

INDUSTRIAL COMMISSION
v.
MEDDOCK

Appeal from Superior Court, Yavapai County; W. E. Patterson, Judge.

Proceeding on appeal by Clarence Meddock, doing business as Grand Canyon Quarries, from an order of the Industrial Commission of Arizona classifying quarrymen as employees, for whom he must pay workmen's compensation insurance premiums, and not independent contractors. From an order setting aside findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order of Industrial Commission and a judgment in favor of the Industrial Commission, the commission appeals.

Judgment reversed and order of Industrial Commission sustained.

H. S. McCluskey, of Phoenix (John R. Franks, of Phoenix, of counsel), for appellant.

Crawford & Baker, of Prescott, for appellee.

Stanford, Chief Justice. La Prade and Udall, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Stanford, Chief Justice.

Page 581

[65 Ariz. 325] Appellee is the owner of certain sand rock quarries in Northern Arizona and had entered into individual contracts for the quarrying of said stone, and doing other work in connection therewith. The Industrial Commission of Arizona proposed to classify the men doing the actual quarrying as "employees," appellees having classified them as "independent contractors" thus avoiding, among other things, having to pay premiums on these men for workmen's compensation insurance.

Upon the proposal to make such classification appellee demanded a formal hearing before the Industrial Commission of Arizona, and at the conclusion it was held that said men were the employees of appellee and liability of appellee for premiums on workmen's compensation insurance was adjusted in accordance therewith. Petition for a rehearing of said order was denied by appellant.

Before the Industrial Commission counsel for the respective parties stipulated that the issues there presented might be determined on appeal to the Superior Court on the record made before the Commission. On trial the Superior Court entered an order setting aside the findings of fact, conclusions of law and order of the Commission wherein the Commission determined that the quarrymen were not independent contractors, and pursuant to said order, entered a judgment in favor of Grand Canyon Quarries from which order and judgment this appellant appeals.

Appellant offers but a single assignment of error which is as follows:

[65 Ariz. 326] "The court erred in exceeding its jurisdiction and substituting its opinion of the 'Status' of the quarry workers for that of the appellant; and entering its order, setting aside the acts of appellant; and entering judgment pursuant thereto."

The terms governing the employment of the quarrymen are set forth in a contract which must be signed by those seeking such work. The contract was a uniform one, the only thing to be filled in being the date, names, residence, the per cent of the total rock quarried which is to be building stone and the per cent which is to be thick flagstone. The person to do the work is to be paid, under the contract, $ 6 per ton for first grade flagstone, etc; $ 3.50 per ton for thick flagstone; and $ 2 per ton for building stone. Other parts of the contract pertinent in this case are as follows:

"* * * that the second party enter upon said claim or claims and mine and quarry flagstone and building rock therefrom as an independent contractor. * * *"

"It is distinctly understood and agreed that the party of the first part (meaning the

Page 582

Grand Canyon Quarries) shall exercise no supervision or control over second party or any of his employees or the manner or means by which the mining work is carried on and is interested only in the products of said quarries delivered to him on the ground aforesaid."

"The party of the second part is hereby granted the right to possession of a designated pit or pits within the said mines and quarries for the purpose of mining the same; provided, however, the party of the first part shall have the right to enter upon said claim or claims or any designated pit or pits therein at any time to inspect the work ...


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