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NINETEEN NORTH v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (12/28/79)

decided: December 28, 1979.

NINETEEN NORTH, INC. AND CRUM & FORSTER INSURANCE COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD AND LORENE SCHENECKER, RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in case of Charles M. Schenecker, deceased; Lorene, Widow v. Nineteen North, Inc., Appeal No. A-74763.

COUNSEL

Raymond F. Keisling, with him Will and Keisling, for petitioner.

Ronald P. Koerner, with him Allan H. Cohen, Gatz, Cohen, Segal & Koerner, for respondents.

Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr.

Author: Crumlish

[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 209]

Lorene Schenecker, widow of Charles M. Schenecker, was awarded workmen's compensation benefits by a referee. The Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board affirmed and his employer, Nineteen North, Inc., appeals to us. We affirm the Board.

The issue is whether Nineteen North, Inc., a general contractor constructing an apartment complex, is liable as a statutory employer for the fatal injuries of Charles M. Schenecker, a project worker. He had been employed under an oral agreement to lay parquet flooring which he was doing for several months prior to a construction explosion accident. The employer contends that Schenecker was an independent contractor.

The referee concluded that Nineteen North was Schenecker's statutory employer under the provisions of Section 203 of The Pennsylvania Workmen's Compensation

[ 48 Pa. Commw. Page 210]

Act,*fn1 77 P.S. ยง 52, and ordered it to pay workmen's compensation benefits to the widow together with medical and funeral expenses. On appeal, the Board first set aside the award and ordered a remand to permit claimant to enlarge the record. Following additional depositions, the referee awarded benefits and was later affirmed by the Board.

We look to Section 203 for instruction:

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.

This section throws the burden on the man who secured the original contract from the owner to the end that employees of any degree doing work thereunder might always be protected in compensation claims. Qualp v. James Stewart Co., 266 Pa. 502, 509, 109 A. 780, 782 (1920). More specifically, it affords workmen's compensation protection to injured employees of uninsured contractors by imposing secondary liability on the ...


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