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Kane Furniture Corp. v. Miranda

506 So. 2d 1061 (1987)

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Kane Furniture Corp. v. Miranda

Florida District Court of Appeal

506 So. 2d 1061 (1987)

Facts

Furniture retailer Kane Furniture Corporation (Kane) (defendant) also sold carpet for which it advertised free installation. Kane sold the installation portion of its business to Joseph Perrone, who thereafter provided those services for Kane customers. Kane provided Perrone with a small work area from which he assigned jobs to other installers. Perrone was not obligated to work exclusively for Kane, and Kane was free to use other installers. Kane did not supervise Perrone, who was responsible for his own work. Perrone and his installers also used their own equipment, owned and insured their own trucks, and were not reimbursed for mileage or other expenses. Perrone and his installers received training through outside apprenticeships. Kane paid Perrone based on a rate per yard of carpet installed and issued him a Form 1099 for nonemployees. Perrone did not have an employment agreement with Kane, and Kane did not provide Perrone or his installers with health insurance or other benefits. On a Saturday morning, an installer named Kraus finished a Kane installation for which Perrone had hired him. At about noon, Kraus and his helper drove to a bar in Kraus’s truck; at the bar, they proceeded to drink for four hours. Kraus then tried to drive his associate to Kane’s warehouse to retrieve the associate’s car. However, Kraus ran a stop sign at a high rate of speed and collided with a vehicle driven by Romulo Miranda (plaintiff). Miranda’s wife, who was a passenger in the vehicle, died in the crash. In Miranda’s wrongful-death action, the trial court granted summary judgment to Miranda, finding that Perrone was Kane’s employee and Kraus was Kane’s subemployee and that Kane was therefore liable for their conduct. A jury then awarded $2.3 million in damages to Miranda, and Kane appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ryder, C.J.)

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