Employee versus Independent Contractor.

Stephen Hemmerling was a driver for the Happy Cab Co. Hemmerling paid certain fixed expenses and abided by a variety of rules relating to the use of the cab, the hours that could be worked, and the solicitation of fares, among other things. Rates were set by the state. Happy Cab did not withhold taxes from Hemmerling’s pay. While driving the cab, Hemmerling was injured in an accident and filed a claim against Happy Cab in a Nebraska state court for workers’ compensation benefits. Such benefits are not available to independent contractors.
On what basis might the court hold that Hemmerling is an employee? Explain. (Agency Law.)

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Respondeat Superior.
ABC Tire Corp. hires Arnez as a traveling salesperson and assigns him a geographic area and time schedule in which to solicit orders and service customers. Arnez is given a company car to use in covering the territory. One day, Arnez decides to take his personal car to cover part of his territory. It is 11:00am, and Arnez has just finished calling on all customers in the city of Tarrytown. His next appointment is at 2pm in the city of Austex, twenty miles down the road. Arnez starts out for Austex, but half-way there he decides to visit a former college roommate who runs a farm ten miles off the main highway. Arnez is enjoying his visit with his former roommate when he realizes that it is 1:45pm and that he will be late for the appointment in Austex. Driving at a high speed down the country road to reach the main highway, Arnez crashes his car into a tractor severely injuring Thomas, the driver of the tractor. Thomas claims that he can hold ABC Tire Corp. liable for his injuries. Discuss fully ABC’sliability in this situation. (See Liability in Agency Relationships.)

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