Friday, December 16, 2005

Court of Appeals issues statutory employee opinion

In a decision filed December 12, 2005, the South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court's finding that a pilot who provides transport services to a hospital on a contract basis is not a statutory employee of the hospital. As a result of the appellate court's holding, the pilot, who sued a hospital employee for gross negligence arising out of personal injuries, is not barred by the exclusive remedy of the Workers' Compensation Act from pursuing his claim. The appellate court rejected the hospital's argument that the pilot was a statutory employee of the hospital on the basis that although the ability to transport patients by air helps facilitate the hospital's treatment of critically injured patients, that fact alone does not make transportation an important or essential part of the hospital's business. The appellate court noted that less than 1% of the hospital's patients require air transportation and hospital's services do not cease when air transportation is not available. The appellate court also rejected the hospital's argument that the pilot was a borrowed servant because no evidence existed that the hospital exercises control over the methods and details of each flight.

(contributed by Sandi Wilson)

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