Case name: Graham v. TSL, Ltd., No. 2010-SC-000676-WC (Ky. 08/25/11).
Ruling: The Kentucky Supreme Court held that it did not have jurisdiction over a driver's claim.
What it means: In Kentucky, a contract for hire is not made until the last act necessary for its formation is complete, and the contract is formed at the place where that act is performed.
A truck driver lived in Kentucky and worked for a company with corporate offices in Missouri and Ohio. When the driver sought a job from the company, he considered himself hired over the phone after a conversation with a company employee in Missouri. The company sent him a bus ticket to travel to Missouri for a driving test, training program, and drug test. After this, the company provided him with a letter for hire and a truck, and he began working. The driver hauled automobiles throughout the country. He received his assignments from a dispatch office in Missouri, and the company deposited his payroll checks directly from its office in Ohio. While unloading an automobile from his truck in New Jersey, he fell and injured his foot. The driver sought benefits in Kentucky. The company denied the claim, asserting that Kentucky lacked jurisdiction because the employment was not principally located in any state, and the contract for hire was made in Missouri. The Kentucky Supreme Court held that Kentucky did not have jurisdiction over the claim.
The driver asserted that he was working under a contract of hire made over the phone in Kentucky. The court explained that although a contract made by telephone is formed at the place where the acceptor speaks his acceptance, the parties' contract here was not formed until the driver completed the various requirements in Missouri. The company's vice president indicated that completing the requirements was a mandatory prerequisite to any contract of hire entered into and approved by the company. The driver may have considered himself hired over the telephone, but the evidence was not so overwhelming to compel a conclusion that a contract was formed at that time.
Read more at the WorkersComp Forum homepage.
October 13, 2011
Copyright 2011© LRP Publications