American Tennis Courts, Inc. v. Hinton

CourtAlabama Court of Civil Appeals
Writing for the CourtWRIGHT
Citation378 So.2d 235
Parties. v. Willow Dean HINTON. Civ. 1754. Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama
Decision Date12 September 1979

Page 235

378 So.2d 235
AMERICAN TENNIS COURTS, INC.
v.
Willow Dean HINTON.
Civ. 1754.
Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama.
Sept. 12, 1979.
Rehearing Denied Oct. 17, 1979.

Page 237

Michael Gillion, Mobile, for appellant.

Christopher E. Peters, Mobile, for appellee.

WRIGHT, Presiding Judge.

This is a workmen's compensation case.

Defendant appeals from the trial court's award of death benefits to plaintiff, mother of the deceased. We affirm.

In brief summary, testimony most favorable to plaintiff was: The deceased was hired in May 1976 by Ronald Barron to help install a fence for American Tennis Courts, Inc. (American) on a tennis court construction project at Williamson High School in Mobile. He was injured when some of the fencing wire used on the job fell, striking him in the back near his left shoulder blade. Over the next few days his left arm became swollen and he sought medical attention. He was admitted to the hospital on May 11, 1976, and died in the hospital on May 19, 1976. The medical testimony was that the cause of death was a cardiopulmonary arrest which resulted from some type of infectious process.

American, through very able counsel, raises several issues on appeal. In considering these issues and the trial court's handling of them, we are guided by certain well-established principles of review. The Workmen's Compensation Act should be given a liberal construction to accomplish its beneficient purposes, and all reasonable doubts must be resolved in favor of the employee. Riley v. Perkins, 282 Ala. 629, 213 So.2d 796 (1968). Further, in reviewing judgments in workmen's compensation cases, this court will not look to the weight of the evidence as to any fact found by the trial court, but simply to see if there is any evidence to support the findings of the trial court. Davis-Day Timber Company, Inc. v. Gentry, 54 Ala.App. 385, 309 So.2d 97 (1975).

American contends that the deceased was not an employee of American but was an employee of Ronald Barron, an independent contractor. In support of this contention, American points out that they did not pay wages directly to the deceased, citing § 25-5-1(4), Code of Alabama (1975). American argues that the fact that deceased received his wages from Ronald Barron is conclusive evidence that deceased was an employee of Barron and not American. We do not agree. This court has recognized that the statutory definition of employer is not the only basis for determining the relationship of employer and employee. Craig v. Decatur Petroleum Haulers, Inc., 340 So.2d 1127 (Ala.Civ.App.1976).

The controlling question here is the relationship of Barron to American. If Barron was an independent contractor as American contends, then deceased could not have been an employee of American. The test to be used in determining the relationship of Barron to American is whether American had a reserved right of control over the means and agencies by which the work was done or the result produced, not the actual exercise of such control. Tuscaloosa Veneer Co. v. Martin, 233 Ala. 567, 172 So. 608 (1937). If Barron is found to be an employee under this test and it was reasonably contemplated by American that it would be necessary for him to have helpers in his work, the employment of such helpers would make them employees of American within the meaning of the Workmen's Compensation Law. Riddle v. Smith, 252 Ala. 369, 41 So.2d 288 (1949). American admits that it knew it would be necessary for Barron to have at least one helper to do the work they had hired him to do and that they were aware that he had hired the deceased. They argue, however, that they had no reserved right of control, either express or implied, over the manner in which the work was done. There is evidence in the record to support this contention. There is also evidence in the record that American...

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30 practice notes
  • Ware v. Timmons, 1030488.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • May 5, 2006
    ...was an `employee' as opposed to an `independent contractor,' the [right-of-control] test of American Tennis Courts[, Inc. v. Hinton, 378 So.2d 235 (Ala.Civ.App.1979),] would have resolved the issue. However, no one contends in this case that Stewart was an `independent contractor.' Indeed, ......
  • Ware v. Timmons, No. 1030488 (Ala. 9/22/2006), No. 1030488.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • September 22, 2006
    ...was an `employee' as opposed to an `independent contrctor,' the [right-of-control] test of American Tennis Courts [, Inc. v. Hinton, 378 So. 2d 235 (Ala. Civ. App. 1979),] would have resolved the issue. However, no one contends in this case that Stewart was an `independent contractor.' Inde......
  • Ex parte Eastwood Foods, Inc.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • January 11, 1991
    ...Wheeler v. Lake Forest Property Owners' Association, Inc., 523 So.2d 1083 (Ala.Civ.App.1988); American Tennis Courts, Inc. v. Hinton, 378 So.2d 235 (Ala.Civ.App.1979) cert. denied, 378 So.2d 239 (Ala.1979); Thomas v. Gulf States Paper Corp., 276 Ala. 660, 166 So.2d 104 (1964); and Dean v. S......
  • Ala-Miss Enterprises, Inc. v. Beasley, ALA-MISS
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • February 15, 1984
    ...the law has been properly applied to the facts. We will not look to the weight of the evidence. American Tennis Courts, Inc., v. Hinton, 378 So.2d 235 (Ala.Civ.App.); cert. denied, 378 So.2d 239 (Ala.1979); Craig v. Decatur Petroleum Haulers, Inc., 340 So.2d 1127 (Ala.Civ.App.1976), cert. d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
30 cases
  • Ware v. Timmons, 1030488.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • May 5, 2006
    ...was an `employee' as opposed to an `independent contractor,' the [right-of-control] test of American Tennis Courts[, Inc. v. Hinton, 378 So.2d 235 (Ala.Civ.App.1979),] would have resolved the issue. However, no one contends in this case that Stewart was an `independent contractor.' Indeed, ......
  • Ware v. Timmons, No. 1030488 (Ala. 9/22/2006), No. 1030488.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • September 22, 2006
    ...was an `employee' as opposed to an `independent contrctor,' the [right-of-control] test of American Tennis Courts [, Inc. v. Hinton, 378 So. 2d 235 (Ala. Civ. App. 1979),] would have resolved the issue. However, no one contends in this case that Stewart was an `independent contractor.' Inde......
  • Ex parte Eastwood Foods, Inc.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • January 11, 1991
    ...Wheeler v. Lake Forest Property Owners' Association, Inc., 523 So.2d 1083 (Ala.Civ.App.1988); American Tennis Courts, Inc. v. Hinton, 378 So.2d 235 (Ala.Civ.App.1979) cert. denied, 378 So.2d 239 (Ala.1979); Thomas v. Gulf States Paper Corp., 276 Ala. 660, 166 So.2d 104 (1964); and Dean v. S......
  • Ala-Miss Enterprises, Inc. v. Beasley, ALA-MISS
    • United States
    • Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
    • February 15, 1984
    ...the law has been properly applied to the facts. We will not look to the weight of the evidence. American Tennis Courts, Inc., v. Hinton, 378 So.2d 235 (Ala.Civ.App.); cert. denied, 378 So.2d 239 (Ala.1979); Craig v. Decatur Petroleum Haulers, Inc., 340 So.2d 1127 (Ala.Civ.App.1976), cert. d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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