South Carolina Supreme Court Decision for April 29, 2015

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On Wednesday, April 29th, 2015, the South Carolina Supreme Court published a decision in Collins v. Seko Charlotte.

The Court granted a writ of certiorari in Collins v. Seko Charlotte to review the court of appeals decision. The appellate court reversed the decision of the Workers’ Compensation Commission that found that Gregory Collins was not a statutory employee of Seko Charlotte at the time of his death.  This Court affirms the decision by the appellate court.

Collins worked for West Expedited & Delivery Service, Inc., and was killed in an automobile collision returning from making a delivery for Seko Charlotte. West Expedited was a subcontractor that contracted with Seko Charlotte to make interstate deliveries. There was no written contract, but Seko Charlotte regularly engaged in business two to three times per month.

The issue on appeal was whether the court of appeals erred in holding that Collins was a statutory employee of Seko Charlotte at the time of his fatal accident.

The Court found that the court of appeals was correct in concluding that the Commission erred in applying the employee/independent test when it should have applied the statutory employee test found in Voss. In determining whether a statutory employment relationship exists with a subcontractor, the Court looked to:  1) the activity of the subcontractor is an important part of the owner’s trade or business; (2) the activity performed by the subcontractor is a necessary, essential, and integral part of the owner’s business; or (3) the identical activity performed by the subcontractor has been performed by employees of the owner.ave applied the statutory employee test.

The Court found that the court of appeals properly reversed the Commission’s decision and reinstated the single commissioner’s order determining that Collins was Seko Charlotte’s statutory employee pursuant to section 42-1-410 of the South Carolina Code.

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