Massolini v. Driscoll

CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut
Citation114 Conn. 546,159 A. 480
Decision Date22 March 1932

Appeal from Superior Court, Hartford County; Ernest A. Inglis Judge.

Proceeding under the Workmen's Compensation Act by Candida Massolini, claimant for the death of decedent, opposed by Patrick F. Driscoll, employer, and the Bankers' Indemnity Insurance Company, insurer, and the City of Hartford. From a judgment of the superior court modifying the award of the Compensation Commission for the First, Congressional District in favor of claimant, against Patrick F. Driscoll, but in favor of City of Hartford, so that it ran against both defendants jointly, employer and insurer and the City of Hartford appeal.

No error.

John C. Blackall, of Hartford, for appellants Driscoll and Bankers' Indemnity Ins. Co.

S Polk Waskowitz, Edward S. Pomeranz, Solomon Elsner, Lucius F Robinson, Jr., and Philip H. La Fleur, all of Hartford, for appellant City.

Frank Covello, of Hartford, for appellee.

Argued before MALTBIE, C.J., and HAINES, HINMAN, BANKS, and AVERY, JJ.


From the finding of the commissioner, the following facts appear January 21, 1931, the respondent Driscoll had a team of horses which he was renting with a driver to the city of Hartford for $9 per day. The wagon to which the horses were attached belonged to the city, but the harness and other equipment belonged to Driscoll, who was in the teaming business and that of letting out and renting teams and horses with drivers. The city had no interest in who the driver of the team might be so long as he was competent, and did not attempt to exercise any particular supervision, control, or direction over him, and had no right to discharge him. The driver's duty was solely to manage, care for, and drive his horses along an established route in the city. The driver and horses, with the city wagon, reported each morning at a certain point in the city about 7 a.m. and took up the collection of ashes and rubbish; two men being supplied by the city who threw the collected refuse into the wagon. The driver of the team drove the horses, and when the wagon was full, took it to some nearby dump, the selection of which was discretionary with him. The decedent was a driver employed by Driscoll at a wage of $26 per week, was paid by Driscoll, and subject to the latter's orders. He had been so employed and worked on this particular city job for Driscoll for about 26 months. He was not on the city pay roll, was not entitled to the benefits of the pension system of the street department, and was in no way considered by the city as its employee. If he turned out to be unsatisfactory, the city could not discharge him but would have to report the matter to Driscoll; and, if the latter did not furnish a satisfactory driver for his team, it is probable that he would lose his contract with the city for the rental of the horses. The city had no control or right to control the management, manner, or mode of the driving or hauling of the team or the way of doing the work.

On the morning of January 21, 1931, the decedent reported to Driscoll's barn, where the horses and wagon were kept, at the usual time, about 6 a.m., harnessed the horses and drove them, with the wagon, to Ann street in the city, where he knew from long experience he was supposed to go that day and be in readiness to start the collection of rubbish and ashes with the aid of the two men furnished by the city. Driscoll furnished all feed and equipment for the horses, their hoofs were equipped with shoes designed for taking calks to prevent slipping, and the decedent had with him calks furnished by Driscoll for application to the horses' shoes should slippery conditions prevail. Shortly after 7 a.m., the decedent, with the horses and wagon, was waiting on Ann street, intending, under Driscoll's contract to go along with the city men, collecting the refuse. He had not collected any that day because the team ahead of him was not full, and he would not start the actual collection until that team had been filled and driven away to the dump. Decedent, decided that calks should be applied to the shoes of the horses. He got down under the horses and was trying to place the calks in their proper places, when one of the horses kicked him, and he sustained injuries which caused his death January 26, 1931. The care of the horses is not part of the city's business, and in doing the work on the shoes decedent was doing something solely in the interest of Driscoll and of no benefit to the city. The work which the decedent was doing was for the contractor, Driscoll; the principal employer was the city of Hartford.

It is the claim of the defendant Driscoll that the deceased, at the time of his injury, was a loaned employee, and that the award should have been against the city and not against Driscoll, the immediate employer. The finding does not, however, sustain this contention. So far as appears, the city had control of Massolini's operations only to the extent of determining to what points he should drive his team in order to receive a load. It had control of the operation only as to the result to be obtained, but the control of the method to be adopted in reaching the result remained with Driscoll. It was for the latter to determine what man should do the driving and just how that man should do the driving, and how he should care for the horses. Under such circumstances, Massolini remained the employee of Driscoll, and was used by him in fulfilling the latter's contract with the city. Massolini was not an employee loaned to the city to be under the city's control in the details of the work he was doing. Parsons v. Daly & Sons, 114 Conn. 143, 158 A. 216; Campbell v. N.Y. N.H. & H. R. R. Co., 92 Conn. 322, 329, 102 A. 597; Schweitzer v. Thompson, 229 N.Y. 97, 99, 127 N.E. 904; Clancy's Case, 228 Mass. 316, 318, 117 N.E. 347; Scribner's Case, 231 Mass. 132, 134, 120 N.E. 350, 3 A.L.R. 1178; Eckert's Case, 233 Mass. 577, 578, 124 N.E. 421; Hogan's Case, 236 Mass. 241, 243, 127 N.E. 892; Gallagher's Case, 240 Mass. 455, 457, 134 N.E. 344; Brooks v. Buckley, 291 Pa. 1, 139 A. 379, 381; Linstead v. C. & O. R. R. Co., 276 U.S. 28, 33, 48 S.Ct. 241, 72 L.Ed. 453.

The city, in its appeal, attacks the conclusion of the court that the city...

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45 cases
  • Barker v. All Roofs by Dominic, SC 20196
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • August 13, 2020
    ...and orders, the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner for the Third District (commissioner) determined that, under Massolini v. Driscoll , 114 Conn. 546, 551–52, 159 A. 480 (1932), a municipality can be liable as a principal employer under § 31-291. The commissioner also determined that, pursu......
  • Discuillo v. Stone and Webster, 15581
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    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • August 19, 1997
    ...broadly construed to accomplish its humanitarian purpose" [citation omitted; internal quotation marks omitted] ); Massolini v. Driscoll, 114 Conn. 546, 553, 159 A. 480 (1932) ("[t]he [a]ct is to be construed with sufficient liberality to carry into effect the beneficent purpose contemplated......
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    ...89 Cal.App. 736, 740, 265 P. 362, 364 (special statutory inclusion for purposes of Workmen's Compensation Act); Massolini v. Driscoll, 114 Conn. 546, 159 A. 480 (idem). 23 See Dade County v. State, 95 Fla. 465, 116 So. 72; State of North Carolina ex rel. Harris v. Watson, 201 N.C. 661, 161 ......
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