Monday, April 14, 2014

Global Hawk Ins. Co. v. Le (Cal. Ct. App. - April 14, 2014)

Jerry Le gets his Class A license and becomes a truck driver.  He goes to V&H Trucking which agrees to use him for "spot" jobs.  No benefits, no taxes, no social security -- just a 1099 and a lump sum for each job.

In late 2010, V&H uses Le for a job.  He's supposed to drive with a co-driver hauling goods from LA to New York, then to Georgia, then back to New York, then back to LA.  It'll take 10 days.  For which Le will be paid the princely sum of $1100.  Le takes the job.

Le and his co-driver do all the things.  Drive stuff from LA to New York.  Drive more stuff from NY to GA.  Drive additional stuff from GA back to NY.  They're now on the last leg of their journey, with a final load from NY back to LA.

At which point Le's co-driver crashes the truck.  Le's sleeping in the cab at the time.  Le's ejected from the vehicle and suffers serious injuries, including but not limited to a broken neck.  Vomiting blood, etc.  Not good.

Le eventually asks about getting paid for the trip, and maybe getting reimbursed for his medical care through worker's comp.  At which point V&H tells him to pound sand.  They say they're not paying for medical care because he's not an employee and so isn't eligible for worker's comp.

Oh, yeah,  V&H also refuses to pay him the $1100 for the trip.  Because he never "finished" the job once his co-worker crashed on the final leg and broke Le's neck.


Fortunately for Le, the Court of Appeal is more sympathetic to his plight than was V&H.  Justice Richman reverses the grant of summary judgment for V&H's insurance company against Le.