Florek v. Sparks Flying Service, Inc.

Decision Date14 February 1961
Docket NumberNo. 8925,8925
Citation359 P.2d 511,83 Idaho 160
PartiesLaurence F. FLOREK, Claimant-Appellant, v. SPARKS FLYING SERVICE, INC., Employer-Respondent.
CourtIdaho Supreme Court

Marcus & Evans, Boise, for appellant.

Richards, Haga & Eberle, Boise, for respondent.

KNUDSON, Justice.

This is an action for unemployment security benefits. Appellant, Laurence F. Florek, is an airplane pilot and during his base period year of 1958 was intermittently employed by respondent Sparks Flying Service, Inc., to perform a variety of services, consisting of piloting chartered flights, giving student flying instructions and spraying or crop dusting agricultural crops. For his services rendered in piloting chartered flights and giving student flying instructions he was paid on an hourly basis and his income for such services has been properly considered in determining the total benefits available to appellant.

During said base period appellant's largest remuneration from respondent was for services rendered in spraying or dusting agricultural crops. This work consisted of flying an aircraft, equipped with mechanical apparatus to spray chemicals and insecticides, at extremely low altitudes and within a few feet of the crop being treated. For such services appellant was paid on a commission basis.

The Industrial Accident Board concluded that the spraying or dusting of agricultural crops by whatever means is agricultural labor as that term is defined in the Employment Security Law, and that the Employment Security Agency properly excluded such work from consideration in determining appellant's available insurance reserve for unemployment compensation and entered its order accordingly. It is from said order that this appeal is taken.

The amount received by appellant for services rendered during the base period is not in controversy. The essential issue presented is whether appellant's service while engaged in spraying or crop dusting is covered employment within the provisions and meaning of the Employment Security Law of this state.

The evidence discloses that all negotiations had and agreements made with the farmers regarding the dusting of their crops were carried on by persons other than appellant who are referred to as flight operators; that the flight operators' field man directs appellant as to which filed to spray; that appellant seldom contacts the farmer other than to consult him regarding obstructions in and about the field to be sprayed; appellant makes no inspection of the crop to be treated, nor does he prescribe the chemicals or insecticides to be used. Appellant contends that since his services consisted almost exclusively of flying the airplane, which is a highly skilled profession, he was not engaged in agricultural labor while spraying or dusting a farm crop.

I.C. § 72-1316 defining 'covered employment' under the Employment Security Law provides:

'Covered employment.--(a) The term 'covered employment' means an individual's entire service, including service in interstate commerce, performed by him for wages or under any contract of hire, written or oral, express or implied, except----

'(1) Agricultural labor, as defined by section 72-1304; * * *'

The applicable provisions of I.C. § 72-1304 defining the term 'agricultural labor' with which we are here concerned, are:

'Agricultural labor.--(a) The term 'agricultural labor' includes all services performed:

'(1) On a farm, in the employ of any person in connection with cultivating the soil, or in connection with raising or harvesting any agricultural or horticultural commodity, including the raising, shearing, feeding, caring for, training, and management of livestock, bees, poultry, and furbearing animals and wildlife. * * *' (Emphasis supplied.)

The question presented is, did appellant, while engaged in spraying or crop dusting, perform services in connection with raising an agricultural commodity within the meaning of said § 72-1304?

In the interpretation of a statute the court's only concern is to ascertain and give effect to the legislative intent as expressed, irrespective of the wisdom, expediency or possible results. State v. Bunting Tractor Co., 58 Idaho 617, 77 P.2d 464; State ex rel. Capital Inv. Co. v. Lukens, 48 Idaho 357, 283 P. 527. Where the provisions of the statute are plain and unambiguous the words used must be given their common and ordinarily understood meaning.

The Idaho legislature, when enacting the Employment Security Law, deemed it proper and necessary to define the term 'agricultural labor' and it is clear the legislature intended that, irrespective of the interpretation given to said term when used elsewhere, it shall, when used in connection with the Employment Security Law of this State, have the meaning ascribed to it under said law. I.C. § 72-1303 provides:

'Definitions.--As used in this act, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, the terms defined in the following sections 72-1304 to 72-1330, inclusive, shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them.'

Since agricultural labor as defined by said statute includes all services performed in cultivating the soil and in raising or harvesting the commodity it obviously embraces services rendered in every process and step taken and necessary to the production of a finished farm product. It therefore follows that spraying, dusting or otherwise treating a growing crop is as much agricultural labor as is irrigating and cultivating such crop. If the farmer personally used his airplane to spray or dust his own crop he undoubtedly would, while performing such work, be engaged in agricultural labor as hereinbefore defined. Modern practices, conditions and requirements may differ from those formerly existing but the method employed, or equipment used to accomplish the work, does not change its nature.

In the instant case it is pointed out that appellant made no employment contract with the farmer whose crop he was spraying. Such a factor may in some cases be proper to consider, but we think that under a statute such as ours, whether labor is done directly for the farmer or by the employee of one engaged in spraying or dusting crops commercially is immaterial, and must be considered farm or agricultural labor if it is in fact such.

The fact that appellant is highly skilled as a pilot does not preclude him from engaging in farm or...

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13 cases
  • Sheppard v. State, Dept. of Employment
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • August 26, 1982
    ...involve employees arguing against unemployment compensation tax exemptions granted to their employer. See Florek v. Sparks Flying Service, Inc., 83 Idaho 160, 359 P.2d 511 (1961) (agricultural exemption); Romero v. Hodgson, 319 F.Supp. 1201 (N.D.Cal.1970), aff'd, 403 U.S. 901, 91 S.Ct. 2215......
  • Dullenty v. Rocky Mountain Fire and Cas. Co.
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • June 4, 1986
    ...construction that the language of a statute must be given its common and ordinary meaning. See, e.g., Florek v. Sparks Flying Service, Inc., 83 Idaho 160, 359 P.2d 511 (1961). [W]here the language of a statute is unambiguous, the clear express intent of the legislature must be given effect ......
  • Employment Sec. Agency v. Joint Class "A" School Dist. No. 151
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • March 22, 1965
    ...Bakes, 57 Idaho 537, 67 P.2d 1024 (1937); J. C. Penney Co. v. Diefendorf, 54 Idaho 374, 32 P.2d 784 (1934). Florek v. Sparks Flying Service, inc., 83 Idaho 160, 359 P.2d 511 (1951), contains the following 'We fully recognize and adhere to the proposition that classifications made by the leg......
  • Hammon v. Farmers Ins. Co. of Idaho
    • United States
    • Idaho Supreme Court
    • July 11, 1985
    ...construction that the language of a statute must be given its common and ordinary meaning. See, e.g., Florek v. Sparks Flying Service, Inc., 83 Idaho 160, 359 P.2d 511 (1961). "[W]here the language of a statute is unambiguous, the clear express intent of the legislature must be given effect......
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