New Longshore Case From Eleventh Circuit – Langfitt v. Federal Marine Terminals, Inc.

New Longshore case from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. It involves the exclusivity of the compensation scheme nestled in the Longshore and Harbor Worker's Compensation Act. the case is Langfitt v. Federal Marine Terminals, Inc., 2011 U.S. App. LEXIS 15658 and can be found here. Facts are simple: longshore worker is injured on the job. He is paid by the LHWCA insurer, but sues the marine terminal where he was injured. The marine terminal asserted an affirmative defense that it was an "employer" for the purposes of the LHWCA. As a LHWCA employer, it would be immune from any negligence suit. The trial court found that it was an "employer and granted the terminal's motion for summary judgment. Analysis: the court issue an exhaustive 41 page decision outlining the analysis for who is a LHWCA employer and then conducted an intense application of the facts. But, the essence of the decision is that the "borrowed employee" doctrine can immunize defendants facing claimants who are receiving LHWCA benefits from their actual employer's insurer. The test is: When a general employer transfers its employee to another person or company, the latter is the employee's borrowing employer for purposes of the LHWCA, and thus is liable for the Act's compensation and has the benefit of the Act's tort immunity, if each of the following three criteria is satisfied: (1) Employee Consent to the New Employment Relationship. The employee must be shown to have given deliberate and informed consent to the new employment relationship with the borrowing principal. The test is objective, and the employee's consent may be shown to have been given either expressly or impliedly. (2) Borrowing Principal's Work Being Done. The work being performed by the employee at the time of the injury must be shown to have essentially been that of the borrowing principal-that is, that it was primarily the borrowing principal's interests that were being furthered by the employee's work. (3) Borrowing Principal Assumed Right to Control the Details of Employee's Work. The borrowing principal must be shown to have received, from the employee's general employer, the right to control the manners and details of the employee's work. This might be evidenced by: (a) an express agreement between the general employer and the borrowing principal that directly evidences a transfer of control over the employee to the borrowing principal; (b) the borrowing principal's actual exercise of control; (c) the borrowing principal's furnishing of the equipment and space necessary for the employee to perform the work; (d) the borrowing principal's right to terminate the employee's relationship with the borrowing principal;and (e) the method and obligation of payment for the employee's services. Must read if you have a negligence claim by someone receiving benefits under the LWHCA.

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