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James v. Dedeaux

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

February 21, 2017

MICHAEL JAMES AND ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF MISSISSIPPI, INC. APPELLANTS
v.
BRIAN DEDEAUX AND CONSTRUCTOR SERVICES, INC. APPELLEES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/28/2015

         HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANTS: MATTHEW JASON SUMRALL ZACHARY MORI BONNER BRIAN CHRISTOPHER WHITMAN W. THOMAS MCCRANEY III

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEES: MYLES ETHAN SHARP ROBERT ELLIOTT BRIGGS III

          BEFORE IRVING, P.J., FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.

          FAIR, J.

         ¶1. Michael James and Brian Dedeaux were working on a construction project at Keesler Air Force Base when the scissor lift Dedeaux was operating struck James, severely injuring him. At the time, James was an employee of Aladdin Construction Co., while Dedeaux was employed by Constructor Services Inc. ("CSI"). CSI had a contract with Aladdin to provide labor for the Keesler project.

         ¶2. James filed a negligence suit against Dedeaux and CSI in the Harrison County Circuit Court. On the defendants' motion for summary judgment, the circuit court found Dedeaux had been "loaned" to Aladdin by CSI, limiting James to workers' compensation benefits under the exclusivity provision of the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Law. James appeals that decision.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶3. We review the grant of a summary judgment de novo. Davis v. Hoss, 869 So.2d 397, 401 (¶10) (Miss. 2004). Summary judgment shall be granted "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admission on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." M.R.C.P. 56(c). "[E]vidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion." Davis, 869 So.2d at 401 (¶10).

         DISCUSSION

         ¶4. On appeal, James contends that the trial court erred in finding, as a matter of law, that Dedeaux was a borrowed servant of Aladdin-and thus that James was barred from suing in tort. James enumerates two separate issues, but both go to the propriety of summary judgment and are based on the same factual contentions, so we address them together.

         ¶5. "The borrowed-servant doctrine is a common-law rule that a servant, in general employment of one person, who is temporarily loaned to another person to do the latter's work, becomes, for the time being, the servant of the borrower, although he remains in the general employment of the lender." Gorton v. Rance, 52 So.3d 351, 359 (¶26) (Miss. 2011) (citation omitted). The Mississippi Supreme Court "has identified three criteria for determining whether one is a borrowed servant: (1) whose work is being performed, (2) who controls or has the right to control the workman as to the work being performed, and (3) [whether] the workman voluntarily accepted the special employment." Id. (citation omitted).

         ¶6. Here, there is no question that the work being done was Aladdin's. The dispute, or alleged dispute, centers around the last two factors, who controlled the work and ...


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