Caicco v. Toto Brothers, Inc.

301 A.2d 14, 62 N.J. 3053 (1973)

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Caicco v. Toto Brothers, Inc.

New Jersey Supreme Court
301 A.2d 14, 62 N.J. 3053 (1973)

Facts

Luigi Caicco was working as a dump-truck driver at a construction site on June 6, 1968, when he was electrocuted and died. Caicco was working for a subcontractor, Toto Brothers, Inc. (Toto) (defendant). Toto had hired Caicco as an independent contractor, and Caicco paid his own taxes and insurance. Caicco had a business he called C. L. Trucking, though it was not registered or incorporated. C. L. Trucking provided work for companies other than Toto, but about 85 percent of Caicco’s work was for Toto starting in December 1967. In the six months before his death, Caicco only worked for other clients when Toto did not have work for him. While working for Toto, Caicco had to follow specific procedures. Toto set work hours and lunch periods as well as directed and supervised Caicco’s dumping of loads. Toto could fire Caicco at any time, but Caicco could also quit at any time. In addition to Caicco, Toto hired 10 to 15 other independent contractors, and the remaining dump-truck work was done by four of Toto’s own regular employees using Toto’s dump trucks. Following Caicco’s death, his widow, Caryl Beth Caicco (plaintiff), filed a claim for workers’-compensation death benefits. Caryl Beth could not seek benefits from the workers’-compensation insurance that Caicco had paid for while he was alive because it was in his name individually and not in a company’s name. The Division of Workmen’s Compensation awarded benefits, but the county court reversed, dismissing the claim. The Appellate Division affirmed the county court. Caryl Beth appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Conford, J.)

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