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Workmen's compensation. Fulton Superior Court. Before Judge Pye.
The principal contractor had use and control of the highways for the purpose of the contract and, to the extent necessary for performance of the hauling contract, highways were "premises" on which the principal contractor had undertaken to execute work.
This is an appeal from the order of the superior court which reversed an award of the State Board of Workmen's Compensation which denied the claimant workmen's compensation benefits.
The order of the superior court held that the award should be reversed because the board had ruled that the provisions of Code 114-112 as amended (Ga. L. 1969, p. 671), did not apply to the claim in question. Hames Supply Company, a Georgia concern, during the time relevant to this appeal, entered into agreements with various Georgia poultry processors to transport poultry from some point in the State of Georgia to some point without the State. All the agreements contemplated that the mode of transportation was to be by truck. After securing an agreement, Hames Supply Company would then sublet the performance of the agreement to parties like the appellee's immediate employer, Donald Marshall. In the instant case, Hames contracted with Ralston Purina of Gainesville, Ga., to transport poultry from Gainesville to Hawthorne, New Jersey.
The claimant was driving this particular load of poultry pursuant to an agreement between his immediate employer, Donald Marshall and Hames Supply Company. Marshall was the subcontractor and Hames Supply Company was the primary contractor insofar as the performance of Hames Supply Company's agreement with Ralston Purina was concerned.
The claimant received an injury while transporting the poultry in South Carolina.
The claimant's immediate employer, Marshall, did not have sufficient employees to come within the provisions of the Workmen's Compensation Act. The appellant contends that Marshall, the claimant's immediate employer, was an independent contractor and therefore Hames Supply Company would not be responsible to the claimant for workmen's compensation benefits for any injuries he received while in Marshall's employment.
Code Ann. 114-112 provides: "A principal, intermediate, or subcontractor shall be liable for compensation to any employee injured while in the employ of any of his subcontractors engaged upon the subject-matter of the contract, to the same extent as the immediate employer. Any principal, intermediate, or subcontractor who shall pay compensation under the foregoing provisions may recover the amount paid, from any person who, independently of this section, would have been liable to pay compensation to the injured employee, or from any intermediate contractor. Every claim for compensation under this section shall be in the first instance presented to and instituted against the immediate employer, but such proceedings shall not constitute a waiver of the employee's right to recover compensation under this Title from the principal or intermediate contractor. If such immediate employer is not subject to this Title by reason of having less than the required number of employees as prescribed in section 114-107, and the provisions of section 114-607 do not apply, then such claim may be directly presented to and instituted against the intermediate or principal contractor: Provided, however, that the collection of full compensation from one employer shall bar recovery by the employee against any others, nor shall he collect from all a total compensation in excess of the amount for which any of the said contractors is liable. This section shall apply only in cases where the injury occurred on, in or about the premises on which the principal contractor has undertaken to execute work, or which are otherwise under his control or management." It is not necessary for recovery under Code Ann. 114-112 that the principal contractor have control, or right of control, of the time, manner and method of performance of either the immediate employer or the claimant. Evans v. Hawkins, 114 Ga. App. 120 (150 SE2d 324).
In the Evans case where Code Ann. 114-112 was held to apply, the principal contractor had a contract with the federal government to cut and remove timber from a federal forest. The principal contractor then in turn subcontracted with an independent contractor to perform the services for which he had contracted with the federal government. On page 122 of the Evans case it is stated: "The terms 'principal contractor' and 'subcontractor' are not expressly defined in the Workmen's Compensation Act and such terms have not been specifically construed in the decisions of this court having application to Code 114-112. However, it is clear to this court that since the secondary liability imposed under this Code section is predicated upon the existence of the principal contractor-subcontractor relationship, this provision of the Compensation Act is not intended to cover all employers who let out work on contract but is limited to those who contract to perform certain work, such as the furnishing of goods and services, for another, and then sublet in whole or part such work."
Under what is held above, it is clear that the claimant in the case sub judice comes within the provisions of Code Ann. 114-112 if the injury takes place "on, in or about the premises on which the principal contractor has undertaken to execute work, or which are otherwise under his control or management."
The claimant was injured in South Carolina when he fell from the truck while attempting to shift the load. The board held that Code Ann. 114-112 did not apply because the injury did not occur on the premises as required by the statute.
While this question is one of first impression in this state, the Supreme Court of Tennessee in construing the Tennessee Workmen's Compensation statute, which contains the identical language as Code Ann. 114-112, held: "When Davis was employed, the J & B Motor Lines had a contract which contemplated the hauling of tobacco and other freight on the highways. To the extent necessary to execute that contract, the J & B Motor Lines had use and control of the highways for the purpose of the contract, and to the extent necessary for the performance, the highways were 'premises on which the principal contractor has undertaken to execute work." ' Davis v. J & B Motor Lines, 193 Tenn. 233, 236 (245 SW2d 769). The position taken in the Davis case is sound and is adopted by this court.
The claimant being within the provisions of Code Ann. 114-112, the ruling of the superior court was correct.
Judgment affirmed. Jordan, P. J., and Evans, J., concur.
Arthur Gregory, for appellee.
Brackett, Arnall & Stephens, H. P. Arnall, for appellants.
Friday May 22 15:30 EDT

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