Parker v. Domino's Pizza
Hoppock, while in the course and scope of his employment delivering pizza for J&B Enterprises, a franchisee of defendant's, drove recklessly and hit another vehicle. Plaintiffs were pedestrians who tried to victims and hit by a third vehicle while doing so. Plaintiffs sued defendant as Hoppock's employer.
Trial court granted summary judgment because Hoppock's employer, J&B Enterprises, was the franchisee, which it held to be an independent contractor.
Was J&B Enterprises an independent contractor?
Whether one party is an agent or an independent contractor is to be measures by the employee's right to control the activities of an employee. If the employer's right to control extends to the manner in which a task is to be performed, then the employee is not an independent contractor.
The franchise agreement and especially the operations manual contained prescriptions for every conceivable facet of the business. This leads to the conclusion that defendant does retain the right to control the means the franchisee uses to accomplish required tasks.
No, J&B Enterprises was not an independent contractor. Reversed and remanded.