McCown v. Hines

549 S.E.2d 175, 353 N.C. 683 (2001)

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McCown v. Hines

North Carolina Supreme Court
549 S.E.2d 175, 353 N.C. 683 (2001)

Facts

James Robert McCown (plaintiff) was in the roofing business for 10 years and previously performed roofing, flooring, and carpentry work for Curtis Hines (Curtis) (defendant). In April 1996, Curtis requested that McCown reroof a house owned by his son, Mike Hines (Mike), d/b/a Mike Hines Heating and Air Conditioning (defendant). McCown agreed. The parties did not discuss the amount or method of payment prior to starting work. McCown claimed Curtis previously paid him $11 per hour. Curtis claimed that he paid McCown $15 per square. According to Curtis, he would never hire anyone by the hour for contract work. According to Mike, he assumed McCown would be paid per square as he had in past work. During a period of three days, McCown set his own work hours. McCown used his own hammer, ladder, and shovel, but the remaining equipment was provided by Mike. McCown did not feel he was free to leave the worksite, although Curtis and Mike periodically visited the worksite. McCown was directed by Curtis to use specific shingles and directed their placement. On April 8, McCown fell from the roof of the house and suffered a spinal-cord injury, leaving him permanently disabled. Mike provided a check for $170.00 for the roofing work. McCown filed for workers’-compensation benefits. After a hearing, the deputy commissioner found that McCown was an independent contractor at the time of injury and dismissed the claim. The full Industrial Commission reversed the decision, finding McCown was an employee acting as an agent for Mike. The Industrial Commission awarded permanent- and total-disability benefits. The court of appeals reversed the award, finding that McCown was acting as an independent contractor at the time of injury. McCown appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Parker, J.)

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