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Freight driver is an "employee," not an independent contractor on day of collision

Jason Judy was driving a First Flight Freight Services truck at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in 2006, when he cause injuries to David Baum.  Judy was insured by Progressive Michigan for no fault coverage, while the truck he was driving was insured by Citizens.  The two carriers disagreed over which of them had primary responsibility to provide coverage for Baum's injuries.  The trial court had ruled that Progressive had primary responsibility, but the Court of Appeals overturned the lower court judge's decision.

The Court noted that coverage turned on whether Judy was an employee of First Flight on the date of the occurrence--a question that the trial judge had resolved by agreement with Citizen's argument that Judy was merely a contractor.  The Court of Appeals unanimously disagreed and ruled that Judy was acting as an employee on the date in question.

The judges noted that this issue is no longer resolved by reference to the common law applicable to workers compensation, as a statute has been enacted to determine employment status for comp purposes.   Rather, the court must look to the eight factors pertinent to the "economic reality" test described in McKissic v. Bodine. Under the McKissic standard, Judy was an employee, as a matter of law, on the date of his injury, primarily because on that day he was driving a First Flight vehicle for reduced compensation and with increased supervision.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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