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Lemmerman v. A.T. Williams Oil Co.

Supreme Court of North Carolina
350 S.E.2d 83 (N.C. 1986)


On December 1, 1983, Shane Tucker (plaintiff), an eight-year-old boy, slipped on a sidewalk owned by A.T. Williams Oil Company (A.T. Williams) (defendant) and cut his hand. Shane had been accompanying his mother, Sylvia Tucker (plaintiff), to her job as a part-time cashier at a convenience store owned by A.T. Williams. Shane frequently accompanied his mother to work and performed odd jobs around the store. In exchange, the store manager, Ken Schneiderman, would pay Shane approximately $1.00 for about 30 minutes to one hour of work. Shane had been performing odd jobs when he slipped and fell on the premises. Shane and his mother sued A.T. Williams for negligence. A.T. Williams moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, arguing that Shane was an employee of A.T. Williams within the meaning of the Workers’ Compensation Act and was therefore limited to filing a claim for workers’ compensation. The plaintiffs opposed the motion, arguing that Shane was not an employee, because Schneiderman had not complied with certain procedural formalities in hiring Shane. Specifically, Schneiderman had not required an employment application from Shane or reported Shane to A.T. Williams for withholding or workers’ compensation purposes. Schneiderman also paid Shane out of pocket, while employees were paid from the cash register. The trial court found that Shane was an employee who had been injured within the course and scope of employment and dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The court of appeals affirmed. The plaintiffs appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Frye, J.)

Dissent (Martin, J.)

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