Austin v. Duval County School Bd., No. 94-1859

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtJOANOS
Citation657 So.2d 945
Decision Date13 July 1995
Docket NumberNo. 94-1859
Parties102 Ed. Law Rep. 391, 20 Fla. L. Weekly D1615 Priscilla AUSTIN and Terry Lee Austin, Appellants, v. The DUVAL COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, a Body Politic, Appellee.

Page 945

657 So.2d 945
102 Ed. Law Rep. 391, 20 Fla. L. Weekly D1615
Priscilla AUSTIN and Terry Lee Austin, Appellants,
v.
The DUVAL COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD, a Body Politic, Appellee.
No. 94-1859.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
First District.
July 13, 1995.

Page 947

Marshall D. Davis, Jacksonville, for appellants.

John A. Delaney, General Counsel, and John R. Jolly, Asst. Gen. Counsel, Jacksonville, for appellee.

JOANOS, Judge.

Priscilla and Terry Lee Austin, appellants/plaintiffs, seek reversal of a final summary judgment entered in favor of Duval County School Board (School Board). Appellants maintain the trial court erred in holding that the School Board and the City of Jacksonville (City) entered into a joint venture, and that Priscilla Austin was a special employee of the School Board. We agree, and reverse.

This case had its inception in a motor vehicle accident which occurred on July 26, 1989, when Ms. Austin was a passenger in a van owned by the School Board and driven by a School Board employee. The van left the road and rolled over, crushing Ms. Austin's right hand. On March 20, 1992, the Austins filed a complaint against the School Board and the driver, seeking damages in tort for the injuries incurred by Ms. Austin in the July 1989 accident. 1 The School Board answered the complaint, denying it was negligent, and asserting as primary defense that Ms. Austin was an employee of a governmental entity at the time of the accident, and that the claim was barred due to the School Board's entitlement to immunity under the workers' compensation law.

Subsequently, the School Board filed a motion for summary judgment, on grounds that Ms. Austin was an employee of a governmental entity at the time of the accident, and had received workers' compensation benefits as a result. The School Board further asserted that the relationship between Ms. Austin and the School Board was such that the School Board was entitled to immunity from tort liability under the workers' compensation laws. The Austins responded with a motion for partial summary judgment, asserting that Ms. Austin was an employee of the City at the time of the accident, and there was no joint venture between the City and the School Board.

Certain background information is necessary to an understanding of the trial court's ruling. On May 3, 1989, the State Department of Education accepted an agreement submitted by the City to sponsor the 1989 Summer Lunch Program for children from low income families. The program was funded by federal grants to the state, which then contracted with local sponsors throughout the state to administer the program at the local level. The City, as sponsor, had final financial and administrative responsibility for the program.

The City entered into a contract with the School Board to prepare, package, and deliver lunches to sites chosen by the City. The School Board contracted to provide lunches at a price of $1.69 per lunch. Under the agreement, if the School Board made a profit, the profit was not shared with the City; if the School Board lost money on the program, the loss was not made up by the City. The City hired temporary personnel to assist in the 1989 Summer Lunch Program, including production workers, who assisted School Board personnel at the lunch production centers established by the School Board at three school cafeterias. Ms. Austin was hired by the City as a production worker, and was assigned to work at the school cafeteria at Highlands Junior High School.

The City's primary purpose in hiring production workers was to provide job skills and training to low income, unskilled workers. The fact that the production workers assisted School Board personnel in packaging and delivering the lunches was an incidental benefit to the City. The City set the production workers' hours, determined their rate of pay and their benefits, paid them, and had the right to fire them. The City was not reimbursed by the School Board for the production workers' salaries.

Page 948

The City had an informal agreement with the School Board to provide production workers at the production sites. There were three City production workers at each production site. These City production workers were supervised by an on-site School Board manager. Ms. Austin was hired as a production worker by Sharel Grissett, a City employee. Ms. Grissett then instructed Ms. Austin to report to the production center and to assist in preparation, delivery, and loading of meals. Ms. Grissett also instructed Ms. Austin to call her if she had any problems at the production center. Ms. Grissett went to the production centers several times to resolve employee problems. After Ms. Austin's injury in the accident involving the School Board's van and employee, the City paid all of her workers' compensation benefits. Moreover, City employee Sharel Grissett signed Ms. Austin's report of injury as her "foreman/supervisor." Ms. Austin was supervised on a daily basis by School Board employee Joan Jones. 2

On the basis of the foregoing facts, the trial court entered a final summary judgment for the School Board, finding the School Board was immune from tort liability because it entered into a joint venture...

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19 practice notes
  • Miami-Dade County, Fla. v. U.S., Civ. No. 01-1930.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • September 30, 2004
    ...314 F.3d 1270, 1275-76 (11th Cir.2002); Hyman v. Regenstein, 258 F.2d 502, 512-13 (5th Cir.1958);21 Austin v. Duval County Sch. Bd., 657 So.2d 945, 947-49 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995) (no joint venture between county school board and City of Jacksonville); Kislak v. Kreedian, 95 So.2d 510, 514-16 88......
  • Tarasewicz v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., CASE NO. 14-CIV-60885-BLOOM/Valle
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • June 30, 2015
    ...USA Independence Mobilehome Sales, Inc. v. City of Lake City, 908 So. 2d 1151, 1158 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005); Austin v. Duval County Sch. Bd., 657 So. 2d 945, 948 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995)). Plaintiffs have produced no evidence whatsoever that those elements are present here. To the contrary, the decl......
  • Kleiman v. Wright, Case No. 18-cv-80176-BLOOM/Reinhart
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • September 18, 2020
    ...venture exists where any factor is missing. See Kislak, 95 So. 2d at 517; Dreyfuss, 701 So. 2d at 439; Austin v. Duval County Sch. Bd., 657 So. 2d 945, 948 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1995).Id. at 1275-76. Defendant argues that because there is no written partnership agreement, Plaintiffs bear the......
  • Burger v. Hartley, Case No. 11–62037–CIV.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • September 12, 2012
    ...factor is missing.” Williams, 314 F.3d at 1276 (citing Kislak, 95 So.2d at 517;Dreyfuss, 701 So.2d at 439;Austin v. Duval Cnty. Sch. Bd., 657 So.2d 945, 948 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1995)). Here, Plaintiffs have merely alleged in a de facto fashion that Mr. Hartley engaged in a partnership with Mat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • Miami-Dade County, Fla. v. U.S., Civ. No. 01-1930.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • September 30, 2004
    ...314 F.3d 1270, 1275-76 (11th Cir.2002); Hyman v. Regenstein, 258 F.2d 502, 512-13 (5th Cir.1958);21 Austin v. Duval County Sch. Bd., 657 So.2d 945, 947-49 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995) (no joint venture between county school board and City of Jacksonville); Kislak v. Kreedian, 95 So.2d 510, 514-16 88......
  • Tarasewicz v. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., CASE NO. 14-CIV-60885-BLOOM/Valle
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • June 30, 2015
    ...USA Independence Mobilehome Sales, Inc. v. City of Lake City, 908 So. 2d 1151, 1158 (Fla. 1st DCA 2005); Austin v. Duval County Sch. Bd., 657 So. 2d 945, 948 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995)). Plaintiffs have produced no evidence whatsoever that those elements are present here. To the contrary, the decl......
  • Kleiman v. Wright, Case No. 18-cv-80176-BLOOM/Reinhart
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • September 18, 2020
    ...venture exists where any factor is missing. See Kislak, 95 So. 2d at 517; Dreyfuss, 701 So. 2d at 439; Austin v. Duval County Sch. Bd., 657 So. 2d 945, 948 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1995).Id. at 1275-76. Defendant argues that because there is no written partnership agreement, Plaintiffs bear the......
  • Burger v. Hartley, Case No. 11–62037–CIV.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Southern District of Florida
    • September 12, 2012
    ...factor is missing.” Williams, 314 F.3d at 1276 (citing Kislak, 95 So.2d at 517;Dreyfuss, 701 So.2d at 439;Austin v. Duval Cnty. Sch. Bd., 657 So.2d 945, 948 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1995)). Here, Plaintiffs have merely alleged in a de facto fashion that Mr. Hartley engaged in a partnership with Mat......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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