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IC roundup: Shared liability; Separate businesses not enough

A hospital shares liability for an emergency room surgeon’s negligence, despite independent contractor classification. A worker’s establishment as a business is not enough to confirm IC classification.

Liability. A Maryland appeals court ruled last month that Prince George’s Hospital Center shares $6.1 million in liability for an emergency room surgeon’s negligence even though he was an independent contractor and not an employee, The Daily Record reported [1]. The decision reinstates a lower court’s ruling in Terence Williams v. Dimensions Health Corp.

The court rejected the hospital’s argument that it was immune from liability because the orthopedist was not a staff physician and hence not an “agent” of the center when his delayed treatment of a car crash victim’s right leg necessitated its amputation.

LLCs. In East Bay Drywall, LLC v. Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Supreme Court of New Jersey on Aug. 2 ruled that a worker’s establishment as a separate corporate structure or LLC by itself is not enough to establish independent contractor status under the New Jersey Unemployment Compensation Act, JD Supra reported [2].

According to the court, the key question is “whether a worker can maintain a business independent of and apart from the employer.” In other words, a person’s business must be capable of surviving even if the working relationship is terminated.