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Indirect Orders from DirecTV

 Satellite TV Provider Was 'Contractor' on Dish Installation Project:



A New York appellate court ruled that the satellite television provider which hired a worker's employer to install a satellite dish on a customer's roof was a "contractor" for purposes of Labor Law liability when that worker fell from the roof.


Case: Rauls v. DirecTV, No. 1283 CA 13-00955, 01/03/2014, published.


Facts: Brian Rauls' employer contracted with DirecTV to perform work installing satellite dishes at the homes of DirecTV subscribers.


Rauls slipped and fell from the roof of a residence as he was stepping from the roof onto a ladder, after having installed a satellite dish on the roof.


Procedural History: Rauls filed suit against DirecTV for violations of Labor Law Sections 200, 240 (1) and 241(6).


DirecTV moved for summary judgment dismissing his complaint, and Erie County Supreme Court Justice Shirley Troutman granted its motion.


Analysis: The Appellate Division's 4th Department said that dismissal was inappropriate as to the Section 240(1) and 241(6) claims because Rauls had established, as a matter of law, that DirecTV was a "contractor" for purposes of those two statutes.


The court explained that an entity's right to exercise control over the work of another denotes its status as a contractor, regardless of whether it actually exercised that right.


In this case, the court noted that DirecTV's contract with Rauls' employer required the employer to comply with DirecTV's policies and procedures, provide training in accordance with specifications provided by DirecTV and use materials approved by DirecTV. Further, the contract incorporated by reference a manual prepared by DirecTV that provided detailed instructions for the installation of defendant's satellite equipment, including instructions concerning safety issues.


The court concluded that this evidence established that DirecTV had the authority to control who did the work and once it selected who would perform the work, that DirecTV could exercise control over how the work was done. Thus, the court said, DirecTV was a "contractor."


Disposition: Affirmed as modified.


To read the decision, click here.



Source: WorkCompCentral

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