Texas Supreme Court Holds There Can Be Two Employers Entitled To Workers Compensation Bar
by Michael Fox
In a lengthy opinion on situations involving shared employment and its interaction with workers compensation, the Supreme Court rejects lower court holdings that there could only be one employer for purposes of workers compensation. Wingfoot Enterprises v. Alvarado (Tx 7/3/03). Wingfoot was a supplier of temporary labor to Web Manufacturing. Alvarado was hired by Wingfoot and was assigned to Web. She suffered an injury to her fingers and sued both. Wingfoot got summary judgment that it was her employer for workers compensation purposes. At trial, Web received a favorable jury finding that it was Alvarado's employer and judgment was entered for Web based on the workers compensation bar. Alvarado appealed only the summary judgment, not the finding in favor of Web. The Court assumed that Web was an employer for workers compensation purposes, but held there was nothing in the workers compensation statute that would preclude Wingfoot from also being an employer. The Court did, as a matter of "prudence", list a number of situations that have been previously been decided by courts of appeal involving other similar situations and saying that they were different from the issue presented here.