Before Bridges, C.j., Hinkebein, And King, JJ.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bridges, C.j.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: August 14, 1997
TRIAL JUDGE: HON. LARRY EUGENE ROBERTS
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: LAUDERDALE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT
NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - WORKERS' COMPENSATION
TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: AFFIRMED COMMISSION'S ORDER
¶1. Thomas Shelby filed his petition to controvert with the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission claiming a compensable, accidental, on the job injury while working for Ric and Peggy Honeycutt at their home. Honeycutt was employed by Kessler Products, Inc., who manufactured extrusions for Peavey Electronics Corporation. Shelby's claim initially included Honeycutt and Kessler, but both were ultimately dismissed as defendants, leaving only Peavey. The administrative law Judge found that Shelby did not have an employment relationship with Peavey on November 1, 1991, the date of the injury. The Mississippi Workers' Compensation Commission adopted the findings of the administrative law Judge and the Commission's order was affirmed on appeal by the Circuit Court of Lauderdale County. Feeling aggrieved, Shelby now appeals to this Court. Finding no merit to the issue raised, we affirm.
¶2. On November 1, 1991, Shelby severely injured his left hand when his glove became entangled in the saw he was using to make plastic extrusions. Shelby testified that Honeycutt hired him to cut these extrusions, supervised him, and paid him by personal check. Furthermore, Shelby stated that these extrusions were cut on Honeycutt's premises in his barn.
¶3. Initially, these extrusions were manufactured by Kessler, and the parts were then sold to Peavey.*fn1 However, when Kessler failed to cut the extrusions according to Peavey's specifications, Honeycutt agreed to provide this service for Kessler. Honeycutt stated that his agreement to cut the extrusions was between him and Kessler, and that since Kessler paid him at a piece rate for cutting the extrusions, there was no contract with Peavey. Honeycutt testified that the relationship between Kessler and Peavey was a typical vendor/vendee relationship, that Peavey was the customer, and that Peavey paid Kessler for the finished product. Honeycutt stated that he "wore two hats" for Kessler: he cut the plastic extrusions that Kessler manufactured and sold to Peavey and was also a sales representative for Kessler.
¶4. On December 2, 1991, Shelby filed a petition to controvert alleging that when Peavey contracted with Kessler and became aware that Kessler's agent was cutting the extrusions, they had a duty to make sure that workers' compensation insurance was provided for the employees. Shelby claimed that the duty to supply workers' compensation insurance was imputed if his employer was a "subcontractor" of Peavey and/or if Peavey was a "statutory employer." Shelby relied on the simple principle enumerated in § 71-3-7 of the Mississippi Code which stated that "[i]n the case of an employer who is a subcontractor, the contractor shall be liable for and shall secure the payment of such compensation to employees of the subcontractor, unless the subcontractor has secured such payment." Miss. Code Ann. § 71-3-7 (Rev. 1995).
¶5. On August 22, 1996, an administrative hearing was held where the administrative Judge made the ...