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NORTH EAST EXPRESS v. WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (JOSEPH WOYTAS) (09/21/83)

decided: September 21, 1983.

NORTH EAST EXPRESS, INC., PETITIONER
v.
WORKMEN'S COMPENSATION APPEAL BOARD (JOSEPH WOYTAS), RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Joseph Woytas v. North East Express, Inc., No. A-79924.

COUNSEL

Jerome L. Cohen, for petitioner.

Cal A. Leventhal, for respondent.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr. and Judges MacPhail and Doyle, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 255]

This is an appeal by North East Express, Inc. (North East) of an order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board (Board) which affirmed a referee's

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 256]

    award of benefits to Joseph Woytas. We affirm.

Woytas was the owner of a truck tractor which he operated as a driver-owner under a lease agreement with North East. He sustained injury on June 21, 1978 while operating the tractor hauling a North East trailer. The single issue for our disposition is whether, as a matter of law,*fn1 Woytas was an employee of North East or an independent contractor.

Our resolution of this issue is controlled by J. Miller Co. v. Mixter, 2 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 229, 277 A.2d 867 (1971) and the cases which follow it. In Miller we stated the relevant criteria for distinguishing between an employee and an independent contractor thus:

The courts have not formulated a hard and fast definition for the determination of whether any given relationship is one of independent contractor or that of employer-employee. They have, however, set forth indicia of such relationship to be used as guides in making such a determination, some of which are: Control of manner work is to be done; responsibility for result only; terms of agreement between the parties; the nature of the work or occupation; skill required for performance; whether one employed is engaged in a distinct occupation or business; which party supplies the tools; whether payment is by the time or by the job; whether

[ 77 Pa. Commw. Page 257]

    work is a part of regular business of the employer, and also the right of employer to terminate the employment at any time. . . . These indicia are not to be considered as circumstantial in nature and whether some or all of them exist in any given situation is not absolutely controlling as to ...


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