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STIPANOVICH v. WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORPORATION (06/16/67)

decided: June 16, 1967.

STIPANOVICH
v.
WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC CORPORATION, APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, Jan. T., 1962, No. 3418, in case of Daniel Stipanovich v. Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

COUNSEL

Frederick N. Egler, with him John J. Kennedy, Jr., and Egler, McGregor & Reinstadtler, for appellant.

Joseph M. Maurizi, with him Suto, Power, Balzarini & Walsh, for appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, and Spaulding, JJ. Opinion by Hoffman, J.

Author: Hoffman

[ 210 Pa. Super. Page 100]

The question for us to determine in the instant case is whether Westinghouse Electric Corporation (Westinghouse) was a statutory employer of appellee, Daniel Stipanovich, under the provisions of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation Act. Before setting forth the facts in this case, however, we consider it advisable to review the applicable principles of law.

The status of statutory employer was created under § 203 of the Workmen's Compensation Act which provides: "An employer who permits the entry upon premises occupied by him or under his control of a laborer or an assistant hired by an employe or contractor, for the performance upon such premises of a part of the employer's regular business entrusted to such employe or contractor, shall be liable to such laborer or assistant in the same manner and to the same extent as to his own employe." Act of June 2, 1915, P. L. 736, art. II, § 203, as amended, 77 P.S. § 52.

The purpose of this provision was set forth in Qualp v. James Stewart Co., 266 Pa. 502, 509, 109 A. 780, 782 (1920): "The legislature wanted to definitely fix some responsible party with the obligation of paying compensation to injured workmen, and the party selected was the first whose duty it was to assume control of the work. It selected the first in succession from the owner, believing the owner would contract with none but responsible persons. He was the first in the field and in the contracting scheme of work, the head of the endeavor, the person to whom an employee would naturally look. . . . The Act intended to throw the burden on the man who secured the original contract from the owner to the end that employees of any

[ 210 Pa. Super. Page 101]

    degree doing work thereunder might always be protected in compensation claims."

Soon thereafter, however, the statutory employer provision, which had been enacted for the purpose of extending workmen's compensation coverage to employees whose immediate employers were not covered, was seized upon by employers as a possible defense against common law negligence liability.

In recognition of this development, the Supreme Court, in McDonald v. Levinson Steel Co., 302 Pa. 287, 295, 153 A. 424, 426 (1930), set forth five strict requirements under § 203 of the Act which an employer must meet to establish that he is a statutory employer, and thus avoid liability at common law. They are: "(1) An employer who is under contract with an owner or one in the position of an owner. (2) Premises occupied by or under the control of such employer. (3) A subcontract made by such ...


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