D & D Tire v. OuelletteAnnotate this Case
Some independent contractors are immune from liability with regard to a person injured in the course of employment under the exclusive remedy provision of the workers’ compensation statutes. At issue in this case was when an independent contractor’s actions are within the scope of a major or specialized repair so as to prevent it from claiming immunity from liability as a statutory employer or coemployee. Respondent was injured during the course of his employment by a tire technician for Appellant, a commercial tire retailer. Respondent filed a personal injury claim against Appellant. Appellant moved for judgment as a matter of law on the grounds that it was a statutory employee and thus immune from liability. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Respondent. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because there was sufficient evidence that the tire technician was an independent contractor at the time he caused Respondent’s injury, Appellant was not immune from liability for Respondent’s injury; and (2) the district court did not err in refusing to give an incomplete “mere happening” jury instruction because to do so would have been duplicative and/or confusing.