DELANO PRICE, Employee, v. DAVID FOX, UNINSURED, Employer/Appellant, and MERIDIAN RES. CO., MAYO CLINIC, RIDGEVIEW MED. CTR., and PAR, INC., Intervenors, and SPECIAL COMP. FUND.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COURT OF APPEALS
JULY 21, 2010
EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP - INDEPENDENT CONTRACTOR. Where the issue at hearing was whether the claimant was an employee or an independent contractor and where the evidence on that issue was not considered in light of the independent contractor rules found in Chapter 5224 of the Minnesota Rules, this matter is remanded for further proceedings.
Vacated and remanded.
Determined by: Stofferahn, J., Wilson, J., and Pederson, J.
Compensation Judge: Gary M. Hall
Attorneys: Bernard J. Robichaud, Robichaud & Anderson, Minneapolis, MN, for the Respondent. Edward Q. Cassidy and Pamela Abbate-Dattilo, Fredrikson & Byron, Minneapolis, MN, for the Appellant.
DAVID A. STOFFERAHN, Judge
David Fox appeals from the compensation judge’s determination that he was the employer of Delano Price at the time of Price’s personal injury on November 12, 2007. We vacate and remand for further proceedings.
Delano Price was hired to do yard maintenance for David Fox at the home of Mr. Fox. Mr. Price was injured on November 12, 2007, while he was raking leaves at the Fox residence.
Mr. Price filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits arising out of his personal injury. Mr. Fox, who was uninsured for workers’ compensation claims, denied liability and alleged that Mr. Price was not his employee but was, instead, an independent contractor.
Mr. Price’s claim petition was heard by Compensation Judge Gary M. Hall on December 7, 2009. In findings and order issued on February 16, 2010, the compensation judge concluded that Mr. Price was an employee of Mr. Fox and was entitled to workers’ compensation benefits related to his personal injury. Mr. Fox has appealed.
The issue for determination at the hearing was whether Mr. Price was “an employee of David Fox on November 12, 2007, for purposes of workers’ compensation.” Mr. Fox’s position was that Mr. Price was an independent contractor and was excluded from workers’ compensation coverage under Minn. Stat. § 176.041, subd. 1(12). On appeal, Mr. Fox contends that the compensation judge erred in failing to apply Minn. R. 5224.0110 in making his determination.
Pursuant to the directive in the statute, the commissioner promulgated rules setting forth criteria to be used in determining whether a claimant is an independent contractor or an employee. In the briefs which have been filed with the court in this case, the parties reviewed the rules and applied the criteria found in the rules in making their arguments as to the status of Mr. Price at the time of his injury.
The compensation judge failed to apply the evidence to any of the independent contractor rules found in chapter 5224 and did not address the criteria set out in those rules. As a result, this court is not able to review this case and determine if the compensation judge’s decision is supported by the evidence and the rules. We must vacate the decision and remand for further proceedings. Rocheford v. Velocity Express, No. WC06-160 (W.C.C.A. Sept. 12, 2006).
On remand, the compensation judge should determine which of the independent contractor rules applies to this case. The compensation judge should then make findings as to whether Mr. Price meets all the criteria for an independent contractor status. If not, then findings should be made as to whether the evidence satisfies all the criteria for an employment relationship. If all of the criteria in a rule are not found, the compensation judge should evaluate the evidence by the general rules found in 5224.0320, 5224.0330, and 5224.0340. Since the application of chapter 5224 of the rules was not argued or discussed by the parties at the hearing, the compensation judge may wish to solicit argument from the parties on this issue.
 Minn. R. 5224.0110 provides criteria for independent contractor and employee status for laborers, defined in the rule as including yard maintenance workers.