Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of John H. Corum v. L. Guizzetti & Son and Archemedi Giofreddi, Partnership, and Reggie Eastridge, No. A-72602.
Curtis Wright, with him John P. Knox, and Timoney, Knox, Hasson & Weand, for petitioner.
William J. Gallagher, with him MacElree, Harvey, Gallagher & Kean, Ltd., and James N. Diefenderfer, for respondents.
Judges Wilkinson, Jr., Rogers and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.
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The only issue remaining in this workmen's compensation appeal is that of whether the record supports the referee's finding that the appellant was the employer of the injured workman.
John Corum, a mushroom worker, suffered injuries to his wrist when he fell from a conveyor while he was engaged in emptying a mushroom house. The basic facts are not seriously in dispute. The appellant, a partnership known as G & G, owned conveyors used in
[ 38 Pa. Commw. Page 412]
emptying (and filling) mushroom houses. G & G rented these machines to mushroom growers. G & G had in its employ one Reggie Eastridge who acted as so-called "gang leader" in connection with the operation of the conveyors. Eastridge's duties for G & G were to take calls from mushroom growers desiring their houses to be emptied, to schedule the times for doing the work, to supply workers, and to see that the work was done. When an engagement had been thus arranged, Eastridge's duties in particular were to transport the conveyors, to maintain them while the work was being done, to supervise the workers, and to see that the grower paid for the use of G & G's conveyors and for the crew. The charge for the use of the conveyor was fixed by G & G. The two charges were paid by two checks of the grower delivered to Eastridge, one payable to G & G for the use of the conveyors, the other to Eastridge for the crew. The latter check was cashed by Eastridge and the entire proceeds divided among the workers. No money was withheld from the workers' pay for social security or other taxes, in accordance with the practice in the industry. While growers are often on the site when their houses are emptied, they do not supervise the workmen; this is done by the gang leader. G & G had assured Eastridge that it carried workmen's compensation insurance, which in fact it did; Eastridge carried none.
On the day Corum was injured, Eastridge had called for him at his home and had driven him to the grower's mushroom house in a truck owned by G & G. After his injury he was paid $20 for the day's work by Eastridge from money provided by the grower.
Referee Perna in an exhaustive decision with detailed findings which we have summarized above, found as ultimate facts that Eastridge was employed by G & G, that Eastridge was G & G's agent for hiring
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gang members, that gang members were not employes of the growers, but that they were the employes of G & G because G & G's agent ...