Construction workerCommunity association management companies should insist that their customers carry a workers’ compensation policy, whether they are employees or not. Here's an example:

Heiman v. CA Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 724

Here’s the Case Fact Pattern:

  • Montana Villas HOA was managed by Pegasus Management
  • Pegasus Management was owned by Heiman (Sole Prop.)
  • Pegasus, at the direction of the Board, hired Hruby to install rain gutters
  • On the fist day of the job, Hruby’s employee (Aguilera) touched high-power line with a rain gutter and was severely and permanently injured 
  • The Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) original ruling was that Heiman (Pegasus) was solely responsible for comp benefits

Heiman took the CA WCAB to The Appeals Court to challenge that ruling.

Disposition from the court of appeals report 'Heiman v. CA Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 724'

“Hruby and Pegasus were dual employers of Aguilera that are jointly and severally liable for workers‘ compensation under the Labor Code. Pegasus was also the agent of the Association,which was a separate legal entity that is liable for workers' compensation as the principal. Pegasus and the Association were not owners or exempt employers under sections 3351(d) and 3352(h). The WCAB's decision awards Aguilera workers' compensation to be paid solely by Pegasus. We reject that limited conclusion and hold that Hruby is jointly and severely liable with Pegasus and the Association is also liable as Pegasus' (principal). To the extent that WCAB's decision is inconsistent with our conclusion, it is annulled. The award will otherwise be affirmed.”

Full case description can be found at Davis-Stirling.com

If Montana Villas had an ‘If-Any’ workers’ comp policy in force at the time of the injury, the WCAB likely would have assigned the benefits of that policy to the injured employee. In doing so, it would have eliminated any ruling against the Association Manager and any need to go to court to fight that ruling. (Source: CAIS)

If you have any questions about insurance for condo associations, contractors or sub-contractors, please contact us at 772.287.3366.

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