Livingston v. Citizen's Utility, Inc., 10225--PR

CourtSupreme Court of Arizona
Citation107 Ariz. 62,481 P.2d 855
Docket NumberNo. 10225--PR,10225--PR
PartiesMary S. LIVINGSTON, as surviving spouse of Leroy H. Livingston, Deceased, Appellant, v. CITIZEN'S UTILITY, INC., a Corporation, Appellee.
Decision Date09 March 1971

Rees, Estes & Browning by Paul G. Rees, Jr., Tucson, for appellant.

Gaynor K. Stover, Tucson, for appellee.

HAYS, Vice Chief Justice.

This cause is before us on a petition for review of a decision of the Court of Appeals, Division Two, which affirmed a summary judgment granted by the Superior Court of Santa Cruz County. Livingston v. Citizen's Utility, Inc., 13 Ariz.App. 94, 474 P.2d 453 (filed September 11, 1970). The judgment of the trial court is reversed and the opinion of the Court of Appeals is vacated.

On August 14, 1965, Leroy H. Livingston suffered death by electrocution while working as a member of a four-man crew supplied by Dykes Electric Company to repair some damage to a high voltage line belonging to Citizen's Utility, Inc., defendant herein. Livingston's wife, plaintiff herein, applied for and was granted workmen's compensation which was awarded by the Industrial Commission by reason of Livingston's employment with Dykes. Thereafter, on February 10, 1966, plaintiff brought this wrongful death action against defendant on a theory of negligence. Plaintiff demanded a jury trial. On July 5, 1968, defendant moved for summary judgment on the grounds that it was immune from suit under A.R.S. § 23--906 because the deceased was its statutory employee under the provisions of A.R.S. § 23--902, subsec. B. Sec. 23--906 provides that employers who comply with certain other provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act shall not be liable for damages at common law or by statute for the injury or death of an employee unless such employee rejects the provisions of the Act. Sec. 23--902, subsec. B provides:

'When an employer procures work to be done for him by a contractor over whose work he retains supervision or control, and such work is a part or process in the trade or business of the employer, then such contractors and the persons employed by him, and his sub-contractor and persons employed by the sub-contractor, are, within the meaning of this section, employees of the original employer.'

Certain facts were stipulated to by the parties for the purpose of the motion for summary judgment. These facts indicate that on Friday afternoon, August 13, 1965, a severe storm struck the vicinity of Nogales, Arizona, knocking down five poles and a high voltage line belonging to defendant. W. E. Powels, defendant's assistant manager, directed a four-man crew of Dykes Electric Company to go to the scene and assist in the repair of the damaged line. The Dykes crew was then engaged in line rebuilding in downtown Nogales. The record is silent on the question of whether these lines also belonged to defendant.

The Dykes crew included the deceased and a foreman. A truck belonging to defendant and some of defendant's employees were at the site by the time the Dykes crew arrived. Defendant's employees included a manager, an engineer, two apprentice lineman, a foreman and W. E. Powels, assistant manager. Dykes furnished its crew and certain motor and electrical equipment for a flat rate of $39.25 per hour. Defendant furnished all of the materials needed for the repairs and some of the equipment. It was further stipulated that the repair of high voltage lines was a part or process in the trade or business of defendant; that following the accident, W. E. Powels directed a temporary discontinuance of the work; that the deceased was carried on the payroll of Dykes and had not rejected the benefits of the Workmen's Compensation Act; that defendant had fully complied with the Act and that all employees of defendant, their dependents and survivors are entitled to benefits thereunder.

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of defendant. Although the court did not state the grounds upon which its judgment was based, it must be deemed to have found that the deceased was the statutory employee of defendant and that defendant was immune from suit all by reason of the provisions of A.R.S. §§ 23--902, subsec. B and 23--906, supra. Those were the only issues presented to and extensively argued before the court.

In considering a motion for summary judgment, we must view the evidence in a light most favorable to the losing party and give such party the benefit of all favorable inferences that may be reasonably drawn therefrom. If the evidence thus viewed is such that reasonable men may reach different conclusions as to whether there is a genuine issue as to any material fact, the judgment must be reversed. Harbour v. Reliable Insurance Company, 94 Ariz. 344, 385 P.2d 220 (1963); Cummings v. Prater, 95 Ariz. 20, 386 P.2d 27 (1963). Summary judgment should not be granted if, upon examination of the entire record, it is determined that there is a disputed fact which, if true, could affect the final judgment. Sarti v. Udall, 91 Ariz. 24, 369 P.2d 92 (1962). Litigants are entitled to a trial where there is the slightest doubt as to the facts. Peterson v. Valley National Bank of Phoenix, 90 Ariz. 361, 368 P.2d 317 (1962)....

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    ...123 Ariz. 148, 598 P.2d 511 (1979); Lundy v. Prescott Valley, Inc., 110 Ariz. 362, 519 P.2d 61 (1974); Livingston v. Citizen's Utility, Inc., 107 Ariz. 62, 481 P.2d 855 (1971); cf. Northern Contracting Co. v. Allis-Chalmers Corp., 117 Ariz. 374, 573 P.2d 65 (1977) (even if there is no factu......
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    • July 25, 1978 drawn therefrom. City of Phoenix v. Space Data Corporation, 111 Ariz. 528, 534 P.2d 428 (1975); Livingston v. Citizen's Utility, Inc., 107 Ariz. 62, 481 P.2d 855 (1971). A motion for summary judgment should be granted only when the record demonstrates that there are no material questions......
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    ...summary judgment against the plaintiff, we consider the record in the view most favorable to the plaintiff, Livingston v. Citizens Utility, Inc., 107 Ariz. 62, 481 P.2d 855 (1971). Further, in connection with the granting of the directed verdict against the plaintiff, we are guided by the r......
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