Askew v Macomber – 20.05

Askew v Macomber
Digest no. 20.05

Section 42

Cite as: Askew v Macomber, 398 Mich 212 (1976).

Appeal pending: No
Claimant: Carrie Askew
Employer: Alicia Macomber
Docket no.: N/A (This case arose under the Workers’ Compensation Act)
Date of decision: December 7, 1976

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SUPREME COURT HOLDING: The test of whether a person or business is liable for workers’ compensation benefits as the employer of a claimant is not a matter of terminology, oral or written, but of the realities of the work performed; control of the claimant is a factor, as is payment of wages, hiring and firing, and the responsibility for the maintenance of discipline, but the test of economic reality views these elements as a whole, assigning primacy to no single one.

FACTS: Carrie Askew claimed worker’s compensation benefits against defendants M. Alicia Macomber, the Second National Bank of Saginaw, and Michigan Mutual Liability Company. Mrs. Macomber, because of her advanced age, had entered into an agency agreement with the bank for the management of her property which authorized the bank to pay for Mrs. Macomber’s care. The bank hired the plaintiff as a practical nurse for Mrs. Macomber and the plaintiff was injured in the course of that employment.

DECISION: Alicia Macomber, not the bank, was the employer of Carrie Askew.

RATIONALE: The bank was operating pursuant to an express agency agreement. The employment of nurses was not an integral part of the bank’s business. The bank was not operating as a labor broker. Although the bank drafted the check for Carrie Askew’s wages, the funds came from the Macomber estate, a separate account. Although the bank discussed wages and hours with Carrie Askew and arranged the hiring of her for Mrs. Macomber, it took no part in the day-to-day control or supervision of Ms. Askew’s duties. There was no evidence of any intent by the bank to supervise or discipline Ms. Askew. The bank’s actions on behalf of Ms. Macomber were those of an agent on behalf of a principal.

Digest Author:  Board of Review (original digest here)
Digest Updated: 7/99