Court overturns MCAC; rules roofer was an independent contractor, not an employee
Eric Moore put a nail through his foot during a roofing project. Years later, he is still significantly disabled by the injury. He was being paid $100.00 to finish a roofing project for Nolff's Construction. The Michigan Compensation Appellate Commission reviewed the case and concluded that Moore was an "employee" of Nolff at the time he was hurt, and thus entitled to the statutory benefits of workers compensation insurance (limited wages and medical).
The Court of Appeals reversed. It held that since Moore had actually employed some other men as roofers on another project, he could not meet the statutory definition of an "employee" at the time of his injury. Therefore, he was not entitled to recover workers compensation benefits from Nolff's insurer, Travelers Indemnity.
It used to be that if it looked like a duck and quacked like a duck, the courts would recognize a duck: today, our courts grant broader and broader discretion to employers to avoid the statutory worker protections that were put in place 50-100 years ago. If this case had been decided before the modern Republican anti-worker, anti-middle class agenda had gained traction, there would have been no dispute that Moore was an employee entitled to the modest benefits of workers compensation. Today, that pro-insurer, pro-corporate agenda puts every laborer at risk of a life-destroying economically catastrophic work injury and passes none of the risk to employers who seek to avoid risk-sharing responsibility.