Gayton v. Mills Septic Tank, 96-2422

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation695 So.2d 397
Parties22 Fla. L. Weekly D1115 John F. GAYTON, Appellant, v. MILLS SEPTIC TANK and PCA Solutions, Inc., Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 96-2422,96-2422
Decision Date02 May 1997

Page 397

695 So.2d 397
22 Fla. L. Weekly D1115
John F. GAYTON, Appellant,
MILLS SEPTIC TANK and PCA Solutions, Inc., Appellees.
No. 96-2422.
District Court of Appeal of Florida,
First District.
May 2, 1997.

Michael B. Staley, Ocala, for Appellant.

A. Scott Toney of McDonough, O'Dell, Beers, Wieland, Williams & Krakar, Orlando, for Appellees.


Proceedings below having been bifurcated, the parties stipulated that the issue to be tried before the judge of compensation claims at an evidentiary hearing was whether John F. Gayton was, as he contended, a statutory employee rather than, as contended by Mills Septic Tank, Inc., and PCA Solutions, Inc., an independent contractor. Some four months after the hearing concluded, the judge of compensation claims advised the parties by letter that he had decided that the claimant had failed to show that Mills Septic Tank, Inc., was obligated to have workers' compensation coverage, because the evidence did not establish how many employees the company had. On this basis, the judge of compensation claims found it unnecessary to rule on any other question.

Because the company was in the construction business, it was required to secure workers' compensation benefits for its employees, if even one (non-exempt) person worked for it. § 440.02(15)(b)(2), Fla.Stat. (1993). Before the hearing began, the parties had stipulated that the company had workers' compensation insurance coverage.

Learning that whether the company needed insurance coverage was nevertheless perceived to be an issue, the claimant's counsel scheduled a deposition at which he elicited the number of employees that worked for Mills Septic Tank, Inc. The judge of compensation claims refused to consider the deposition transcript, however, and ruled that he was unable to infer from the evidence adduced at the hearing that the company had even a single employee. On that ground, more than a year after the hearing, he entered the order denying relief which is now on appeal.

We reverse and remand for further findings and a determination as to whether the claimant should be deemed a statutory

Page 398

employee. See Orlando Sentinel v. Wong-Chow, 652 So.2d 982 (Fla. 1st DCA 1995).

[I]n a case such as this where the record of the hearings does not contain the required evidence on an essential point, or points, the better procedure would be for the deputy, when he discovers the defect, to notify the parties of the lack of proof and afford...

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2 cases
  • Williams v. Bci Industries, 1D06-0469.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • December 1, 2006
    ...reopen the evidence Page 913 for the purpose of receiving new evidence is that of abuse of discretion. See Gayton v. Mills Septic Tank, 695 So.2d 397 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997). Claimant fails to show the JCC abused his discretion by denying the motion. It is undisputed that a JCC may order an IME......
  • Vargas v. Chamsy Transfer, Inc., 1D08-2112.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • January 9, 2009
    ...A corollary to this basic principle is that parties are entitled to notice of what is to be litigated. See Gayton v. Mills Septic Tank, 695 So.2d 397, 398 (Fla. 1st DCA The facts here are similar to those this court addressed in Isaac. There, we held it "was contrary to the procedural due p......

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