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Santiago v. Phoenix Newspapers, Inc.

Arizona Supreme Court
794 P.2d 138 (1990)


Facts

William Santiago (plaintiff) was seriously injured when a vehicle driven by Frank Frausto (defendant) collided with his motorcycle. At the time of the incident, Frausto was delivering the Sunday edition of the Arizona Republic newspaper as an independent contractor for Phoenix Newspapers, Inc. (PNI) (defendant). Santiago filed a negligence suit against Frausto and PNI alleging the newspaper company was vicariously liable for Frausto’s actions. Frausto and PNI moved for summary judgment on the vicarious liability claim. The trial court concluded, based on the agreement signed between Frausto and PNI, that Frausto was an independent contractor and granted summary judgment. In making its ruling, the trial court carefully considered the affidavit of Frausto who stated that, despite the contractual agreement stating that he was not a PNI employee, he considered himself to be one and delivered the papers as directed by a supervisor, including placing the paper in a particular spot if requested by a customer. Santiago appealed. The court of appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court. The Arizona Supreme Court granted certiorari to review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Grant, C.J.)

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