Special Action - Industrial Commission ICA Claim No.
20162-080093 Carrier Claim No. E1U7330 Paula R. Eaton,
Administrative Law Judge
Offices of Robert E. Wisniewski, Phoenix By Robert E.
Wisniewski Counsel for Petitioner Employee
Industrial Commission of Arizona, Phoenix By Gaetano J.
Testini Counsel for Respondent
Lundmark, Barberich, La Mont & Slavin, PC, Phoenix By R.
Todd Lundmark Counsel for Respondents Employer and Carrier
David D. Weinzweig delivered the opinion of the Court, in
which Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones and Judge Peter B.
This case involves an airport taxicab driver who sought
workers' compensation benefits for injuries he sustained
while driving a taxi he leased from a cab company. The
Industrial Commission of Arizona ("ICA") found the
injury was non-compensable because the driver was an
independent contractor of the cab company rather than an
employee for workers' compensation purposes. We affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
AAA Cab Services ("AAA") is a transportation
business and one of three taxicab companies licensed to
operate at Sky Harbor International Airport (the
"Airport") by the City of Phoenix. AAA leases
taxicabs to its airport drivers under a standard one-year
lease agreement that automatically renews unless terminated.
Before leasing a taxicab, AAA requires all drivers to
complete a written application, provide their driver's
license, undergo a background check and attend an eight-hour
defensive driving course. The lease agreement permits AAA
drivers to work for other taxicab companies; designates them
as independent contractors who are responsible for paying
their own taxes; cautions that AAA provides no workers'
compensation insurance to drivers; and authorizes drivers to
terminate the relationship without cause upon 45 days of
notice. AAA can terminate the agreement only for cause.
AAA imposes no minimum hour requirement on airport drivers
and conducts no performance reviews of them. Airport drivers
set their own work schedule, arrange for replacement drivers
when unavailable and purchase their own gasoline. Airport
drivers receive no salary or wages from AAA. The drivers
instead retain all passenger fares as compensation, while AAA
receives fixed, regular lease payments from the drivers for
their taxis. Cash transactions are not reported to AAA, but
AAA processes all vouchers and credit card payments to
airport drivers and deducts a bank service charge. AAA
annually issues IRS 1099 forms to airport drivers to report
their income. AAA registers, licenses, insures and performs
all necessary maintenance and upkeep on the leased taxicabs.
AAA maintains its own company rules to ensure safety and
facilitate a positive customer experience; for instance, AAA
requires drivers to wear seatbelts, observe all traffic laws
and clean the vehicles.
Most significant here, the Airport wields extensive control
and oversight over the general and minute-to-minute
operations of all airport taxicab drivers. The Airport
requires a separate application, an independent test, a
Department of Transportation physical and a federal
The Airport sets passenger fares. It also imposes and
enforces its own detailed set of rules for drivers. For
instance, it requires the drivers to use E85 fuel, dress
professionally, clean their cabs, be courteous to passengers
and refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking in the vehicle.
The Airport also leads when disciplinary action is required,
not the cab companies. The Airport imposes 95 percent of all
disciplinary actions against airport drivers.
Airport restricts the movement and customers of airport
drivers. Airport drivers wait in a designated airport parking
lot until an airport dispatcher instructs them to retrieve
passengers at a particular terminal. The drivers then
retrieve the passengers and transport them to their
destination before returning to the designated airport lot