Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, U.S. Dept. of Labor v. National Van Lines, Inc., Nos. 78-1259

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (District of Columbia)
Writing for the CourtBefore WRIGHT, Chief Judge, BAZELON, Senior Circuit Judge, and TAMM; Dissenting opinion filed by TAMM; J. SKELLY WRIGHT; TAMM
Citation198 U.S.App.D.C. 239,613 F.2d 972
PartiesDIRECTOR, OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Petitioner, v. NATIONAL VAN LINES, INC., Transport Indemnity Company, Eureka Van & Storage Company, Maryland Casualty Company, and James A. Riley, III, Respondents. James A. RILEY, III, Petitioner, v. DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, et al., Respondents.
Decision Date19 December 1979
Docket NumberNos. 78-1259,78-1268

Page 972

613 F.2d 972
198 U.S.App.D.C. 239
DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS, UNITED
STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, Petitioner,
v.
NATIONAL VAN LINES, INC., Transport Indemnity Company,
Eureka Van & Storage Company, Maryland Casualty
Company, and James A. Riley, III, Respondents.
James A. RILEY, III, Petitioner,
v.
DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION PROGRAMS, UNITED
STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, et al., Respondents.
Nos. 78-1259, 78-1268.
United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.
Argued June 1, 1979.
Decided Nov. 13, 1979.
As Amended Dec. 17, 1979.
Rehearing Denied Dec. 19, 1979.

Joshua T. Gillelan, II, Atty., Dept. of Labor, Washington, D.C., with whom Carin Ann Clauss, Sol. of Labor, and Laurie M. Streeter, Associate Sol., Washington, D.C., were on the brief, for petitioner Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs.

Walter W. Pitsenberger, Bowie, Md., for petitioner James A. Riley, III.

Jean S. Moore, Washington, D.C., with whom Vincent H. Cohen and Alphonso A. Christian, II, Washington, D.C., were on the brief, for respondent Maryland Cas. Co.

Leo A. Roth, Jr., Washington, D.C., for respondents National Van Lines, Inc. and Transport Indem. Co.

Before WRIGHT, Chief Judge, BAZELON, Senior Circuit Judge, and TAMM, Circuit Judge.

Opinion for the court filed by Chief Judge J. SKELLY WRIGHT.

Dissenting opinion filed by TAMM, Circuit Judge.

J. SKELLY WRIGHT, Chief Judge:

These cases arise on petitions for review of an order of the Benefits Review Board (Board). 1 The Board upheld a claim by petitioner James A. Riley, III (Riley) for payments under the District of Columbia Workmen's Compensation Law, 2 in addition to those he had already received under the Virginia statute. 3 Riley's employer, Eureka Van & Storage Company (Eureka), now defunct, and James A. Riley, Sr. (Riley, Sr.), the president and sole shareholder of Eureka and claimant Riley's father, were held liable for the payments. To the extent that Eureka and Riley, Sr. could not satisfy the judgment, the claim would be paid from a special fund created by statute. 4 The Board held that Eureka's insurance carrier, Maryland Casualty Company, was not liable

Page 977

because its policy covered only claims made by Eureka employees under Virginia law. The Board also held that National Van Lines, Inc. and its insurer, Transport Indemnity Company, were not liable to Riley because National Van Lines could not be considered a general contractor for purposes of the contractor liability provisions of the District of Columbia Act. Riley v. Eureka Van & Storage Co., BRB Nos. 76-259, 259A, 259B, 7 B.R.B.S. 445 (Jan. 23, 1978). 5

Petitioner Riley urges this court to reverse the decision of the Board with regard to the liability of Maryland Casualty Company, National Van Lines, and Transport Indemnity Company. He is joined in his petition by the Director of the Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (OWCP) for the United States Department of Labor, 6 who challenges only the portion of the order pertaining to National Van Lines and its insurer.

I. BACKGROUND

Claimant Riley was severely injured in a highway accident on January 7, 1966 in New York State. He is permanently totally disabled, as a quadriplegic. The accident occurred during the regular course of Riley's employment as a driver for Eureka Van & Storage Company, which was serving as an agent for National Van Lines in the haulage of goods in interstate commerce. On the fateful trip Riley was driving a truck marked with the colors and insignia of National Van Lines, under the direction of a dispatcher for National Van Lines. He had picked up goods in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland to be delivered in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. The goods originating in the District of Columbia had been delivered in New York City on the day before the accident. 7

While Riley was hospitalized Riley, Sr. filed an "Employer's First Report of Accident" with the Industrial Commission of the State of Virginia on February 22, 1966. No report was made to the District of Columbia district office of the Department of Labor's Bureau of Employees' Compensation (now OWCP) with respect to Riley's accident or claim until 1972. 8 On March 8, 1966 Riley, Sr., on behalf of his son, executed an agreement with Eureka's insurer, Maryland Casualty, for benefits to be paid to claimant Riley at a rate of $39.00 per week for 400 weeks ($15,600 total), plus all hospital and medical bills for two years following the accident. The Virginia Industrial Commission approved the settlement, which was the maximum award permitted under state law. Notice of Award of the Virginia Industrial Commission, March 30, 1966. 9

On May 2, 1972 Riley filed a claim with the District of Columbia district office for additional benefits from Eureka and Maryland Casualty under the District of Columbia statute. 10 No written claim was filed against National Van Lines and Transport Indemnity, but they were involved in all stages of the proceeding. 11

Page 978

The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) assigned to the claim dismissed it on two grounds: (1) that the District of Columbia lacked jurisdiction of the claim because of the absence of a substantial and legitimate interest in claimant's employment or accident, and (2) that the claim was barred by the statute of limitations. 12 The Benefits Review Board, in a split decision, reversed on both grounds and remanded. 13 On remand the ALJ reluctantly 14 found Eureka and its president, Riley, Sr., 15 liable for payments under the District of Columbia law. He further held that Maryland Casualty had fully satisfied its obligations, which were limited to paying claims arising under Virginia law. Finally, he concluded that Eureka was a subcontractor for National Van Lines, and thus that National and its insurer, Transport Indemnity, were jointly and severally liable to the claimant. 16

On appeal the Benefits Review Board affirmed the ALJ's decision holding Eureka and Riley, Sr. liable for additional payments and Maryland Casualty not liable. The Board reversed on the issue of the liability of National Van Lines and Transport Indemnity and held that, in the event that Eureka and Riley, Sr. were unable to provide the payments, Riley would be compensated from a special fund set up under the Longshoremen's and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA). 17

Claimant Riley and his father have at all relevant times been residents of Virginia. 18 Eureka was a small moving and storage company headquartered in Fairfax County, Virginia and serving the metropolitan Washington, D. C. area. Eureka was covered for workmen's compensation claims by Maryland Casualty Company. The policy expressly limited coverage to claims arising under the law of Virginia. In addition to its Washington area business, Eureka served as an agent for National Van Lines. Pursuant to an "Agency Agreement" with National, Eureka operated trucks in interstate commerce under the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) license number of National, displaying the colors and emblems of National. National remained responsible to interstate shippers for carriage under the agreement. Shippers paid National Van Lines directly. National in turn gave instructions to Eureka drivers, exercised some control over the hiring and training of Eureka drivers involved in National Van Lines haulage, and paid Eureka directly for its services. A clause of the agreement required that Eureka furnish workmen's compensation insurance for the Eureka employees. 19

Before reaching the merits of the liability of Maryland Casualty, National Van Lines, and Transport Indemnity, it is necessary to resolve a question of the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia over this claim. 20

Page 979

II. JURISDICTIONAL ISSUES

A

The District of Columbia Workmen's Compensation Act, 36 D.C.Code § 501 (1973), is of widest permissible extraterritorial application. It incorporates the substantive and procedural features of the LHWCA, 33 U.S.C. §§ 901-950 (1976), in cases of injury or death of "an employee of an employer carrying on any employment in the District of Columbia, irrespective of the place where the injury or death occurs." The reach of the statute has been limited in accordance with the dictates of the full faith and credit clause of the United States Constitution, U.S.Const., Art. IV, § 1, to cases where there is "some substantial connection between the District and the particular employee-employer relationship * * *." Cardillo v. Liberty Mutual Ins. Co., 330 U.S. 469, 476, 67 S.Ct. 801, 806, 91 L.Ed. 1028 (1947). So long as such a "substantial connection" exists, the District of Columbia Act applies and satisfies constitutional strictures. Id. The principal jurisdictional issue in this case is whether such a "substantial connection" between Riley's employment relation and the District of Columbia exists.

On the facts, the issue is close. Many of the common indicia of substantial connection, 21 for example, residence of the employee, headquarters of the employer, place of making the employment contract, are absent. For two reasons, however, the usual indicia are of little relevance to this case. First, Riley's residence and Eureka's headquarters were located in a metropolitan area encompassing the District of Columbia and parts of Virginia and Maryland. For most practical purposes, it makes little difference to the parties or to the jurisdictions, in the context of the policies behind the Act, precisely where the home or headquarters is. The most significant geographical division is the metropolitan Washington area. Second, the interstate nature of Eureka's business makes it difficult to pin the employment relation to a specific place. Even Eureka's "local" haulage involved three jurisdictions; under the banner of National Van Lines, Eureka's drivers penetrated many of the states of the Union. Riley, for example, suffered...

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48 practice notes
  • Estep v. Construction General, Inc., No. 85-543.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • July 18, 1988
    ...of Columbia); Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, United States Department of Labor v. National Van Lines, Inc., 198 U.S.App.D.C. 239, 243 n. 20, 613 F.2d 972, 978 n. 20 (1979) (United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has broader territorial juris......
  • In re Mendes, SJC-12857
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • October 29, 2020
    ...to lie in more than one State. See Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, U.S. Dep't of Labor v. National Van Lines, Inc., 613 F.2d 972, 981 (D.C. Cir. 1979) (State with "substantial contacts to an employment relationship may apply its compensation laws without regard to whethe......
  • Railco Multi-Construction Co. v. Gardner, No. 88-489.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • October 5, 1989
    ...67 S.Ct. 801, 805-06, 91 L.Ed. 1028 (1947); see also Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. National Van Lines, Inc., 198 U.S.App. D.C. 239, 246, 613 F.2d 972, 979 (1979), cert. denied, 448 U.S. 907, 100 S.Ct. 3049, 65 L.Ed.2d 1136 (1980). The 1979 Act provides for compensati......
  • Fed. Ins. Co. v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd., No. B249201
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 3, 2013
    ...Airlines (Me.1986) 511 A.2d 441, 445); see Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, etc. v. National Van Lines (C.A.D.C.1979) 613 F.2d 972, 979 [“The reach of the statute has been limited in accordance with the dictates of the full faith and credit clause ... to cases where there......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
48 cases
  • Estep v. Construction General, Inc., No. 85-543.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • July 18, 1988
    ...of Columbia); Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, United States Department of Labor v. National Van Lines, Inc., 198 U.S.App.D.C. 239, 243 n. 20, 613 F.2d 972, 978 n. 20 (1979) (United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has broader territorial juris......
  • In re Mendes, SJC-12857
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
    • October 29, 2020
    ...to lie in more than one State. See Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, U.S. Dep't of Labor v. National Van Lines, Inc., 613 F.2d 972, 981 (D.C. Cir. 1979) (State with "substantial contacts to an employment relationship may apply its compensation laws without regard to whethe......
  • Railco Multi-Construction Co. v. Gardner, No. 88-489.
    • United States
    • District of Columbia Court of Appeals of Columbia District
    • October 5, 1989
    ...67 S.Ct. 801, 805-06, 91 L.Ed. 1028 (1947); see also Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs v. National Van Lines, Inc., 198 U.S.App. D.C. 239, 246, 613 F.2d 972, 979 (1979), cert. denied, 448 U.S. 907, 100 S.Ct. 3049, 65 L.Ed.2d 1136 (1980). The 1979 Act provides for compensati......
  • Fed. Ins. Co. v. Workers' Comp. Appeals Bd., No. B249201
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • December 3, 2013
    ...Airlines (Me.1986) 511 A.2d 441, 445); see Director, Office of Workers' Compensation Programs, etc. v. National Van Lines (C.A.D.C.1979) 613 F.2d 972, 979 [“The reach of the statute has been limited in accordance with the dictates of the full faith and credit clause ... to cases where there......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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