LeSuer v. LeSuer, DD-324

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Citation350 So.2d 796
Docket NumberNo. DD-324,DD-324
PartiesRichard Allen LeSUER, etc., Appellant, v. Joseph C. LeSUER et al., Appellees.
Decision Date23 September 1977

Marvin A. Urquhart, Jr., of Urquhart & Austin, Panama City, for appellant.

Ernest W. Welch of Welch, Hilton, Bennett, Logue & Burke, P.A., and Stephen H. Kurvin of Sale, Bryant, Daniel & Thompson, Panama City, for appellees.

SMITH, Judge.

Plaintiff Allen LeSuer, injured at work on January 31, 1971, appeals from a summary judgment entered for the allegedly negligent operator and the owners of a crane that was engaged in loading scrap for Allen's employer, American Scrap Metal Company, Inc. At issue is whether defendants are immune from tort liability under Florida's workmen's compensation law as it then existed, Section 440.11, Florida Statutes (1971). 1 We hold defendants are not immune and that the summary judgment should be reversed.

American, Allen's employer, wished to load the scrap it recently purchased. Defendant Joseph LeSuer, who was not otherwise associated with American, was induced by a family relationship to lend and operate a crane owned by Joseph and his partner, defendant Herman Currie. Allen sustained an electrical injury when Joseph touched a high voltage wire with the crane's boom.

The trial court held Joseph "was an employee or borrowed servant" of American and that, as such, Joseph individually and he and his partner, as owners of the crane, partake of American's immunity as Allen's employer. Section 440.10, Florida Statutes (1971), required an employer subject to the act to provide workmen's compensation benefits for his employees and required a An exact classification of Joseph's role on the job is unnecessary to the determination of his eligibility for immunity under the act. Whether considered as American's general or special employee, a volunteer, or a direct and independent contractor engaged by American, Joseph is liable to Allen for negligence.

general contractor to provide benefits for his own and his subcontractors' employees. Section 440.11 made their liability for benefits "exclusive and in place of all other liability."

Joseph was assuredly not Allen's employer. Nor was Joseph a subcontractor under American as contractor, for American had no general contract for the work at hand but was in effect the owner of the work. Smith v. Ussery, 261 So.2d 164 (Fla.1972). Joseph was no one's general employee so he cannot be considered a lent or special employee of American for purposes of fixing American's liability for workmen's compensation benefits, and American's tort claim immunity, on account of injury to Joseph; but that is irrelevant because Joseph was not injured and American's liability is not in issue. A general employee remains liable to an injured fellow employee for negligence. Frantz v. McBee Co., 77 So.2d 796 (Fla.1955) retracted intimations to the contrary 2 in Younger v. Giller Contr. Co., Inc., 143 Fla. 335, 341, 196 So. 690, 693 (1940). A lent or special employee is similarly liable. Berrier v. Associated Indem. Co., 142 Fla. 351, 196 So. 188 (1940) and Shelby Mut. Ins. Co. v. Aetna Ins. Co., 246 So.2d 98 (Fla.1971) are not to the contrary; they simply established the special employer's liability for compensation benefits and his corresponding immunity from liability for the lent employee's tortious injury to a fellow servant. Nor does Joseph acquire an employer's immunity under the doctrine of Smith v. Ryder Truck Rentals, Inc., 182 So.2d 422 (Fla.1966); Zenchak v. Ryder Truck Rentals, Inc., 150 So.2d 727 (Fla.3d DCA 1963), and Smith v. Poston Equip. Rentals, Inc., 105 So.2d 578 (Fla.3d DCA 1958), which extended immunity to the lessor of a vehicle, supplied with or without an operator employee of the lessor, to the injured person's employer. Here there was no lease, so the crane was not "equivalent" to one owned by American. Smith v. Ryder Truck Rentals, Inc., 182 So.2d at 424.

Neither Joseph individually nor Joseph and his partner, as owners of the crane, are immune from...

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7 cases
  • Scott & Jobalia Const. Co., Inc. v. Halifax Paving, Inc. for Use and Benefit of U.S. Fidelity and Guar. Co., 87-1052
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 2 Febrero 1989
    ...Atlantic Coast Development Corp. v. Napoleon Steel Contractors, 385 So.2d 676 (Fla. 3d DCA 1980). See also Serrano; LeSuer v. LeSuer, 350 So.2d 796 (Fla. 1st DCA 1977). Such liability is characterized as "vicarious" or "derivative," as required by Houdaille Industries, Inc. v. Edwards, 374 ......
  • Halifax Paving, Inc. v. Scott & Jobalia Const. Co., Inc., 73746
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • 26 Julio 1990
    ...Pensacola Concrete Construction Co., Inc., 448 So.2d 1132 (Fla. 1st DCA), review denied, 461 So.2d 115 (Fla.1984) and LeSuer v. LeSuer, 350 So.2d 796 (Fla. 1st DCA 1977). It is so SHAW, C.J., and OVERTON, McDONALD, EHRLICH, BARKETT and GRIMES, JJ., concur. 1 However, Smith did not address, ......
  • Mann v. Pensacola Concrete Const. Co., Inc., 87-126
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 16 Junio 1988
    ...629 (1920); Atlantic Coast Development Corp. v. Napoleon Steel Contractors, Inc., 385 So.2d 676 (Fla. 3d DCA 1980); and LeSuer v. LeSuer, 350 So.2d 796 (Fla. 1st DCA Alternatively, Pensacola Concrete argues that the trial court should have directed a verdict in its favor because the uncontr......
  • Jackson v. Marine Terminals, Inc., 81-2522
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • 10 Agosto 1982
    ...injurious tractor from MTI. As a basis for the legal difference in this distinction, Jackson directs our attention to LeSuer v. LeSuer, 350 So.2d 796 (Fla. 1st DCA 1977), wherein it was held that the owner/operator of a crane and his partner could not partake of the immunity of an employer ......
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