Court addresses negligence "immunity" for shared or borrowed employees ("loaned servants")
In Wood v. Williams & Williams II, LLC, the plaintiff, a journeyman electrician, suffered a crushing hand injury while working in the demolition of the Chrysler Plymout Road Office Complex. He cited "numerous MIOSHA violations that contributed to the injury suffered at the hands of a lift operator. Wood was employed by Williams and paid in cash. He argued that Williams and Gipson Brothers Trucking were responsible for his injuries because their employee caused the injury and because they had not trained the employee adequately.
Gipson Brothers sought summary disposition, arguing that the lift operator, Kevin, was a "loaned servant" [i.e. borrowed by Williams] and therefore they were entitled to immunity from liability to a co-employee of the victim. The trial judge bought that argument and summarily dismissed them from the case. Wood's attorneys appealed.
The higher court reviewed the standards for liability for a "borrowed servant," either for direct negligenge of the employer or employer vicarious responsibility for the acts of an agent/employee. It held that the trial judge erred in dismissing Gipson, because Gipson maintained signfificant elements of control--even when they weren't enforced--in the employee loan arrangement. It did not "resign full control" of Kevin at the demolition job site, and therefore remained legally resposible for his actions.