In Clean Sweep Professional Parking Lot Maintenance v. Talley, No. 030058 (Va. Jan. 16, 2004), the Virginia Supreme Court held that the trial court erred in overruling pleas in bar based upon the exclusivity provisions of the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act.
The plaintiff was an employee of a subcontractor and brought a negligence action for personal injuries against another subcontractor. Both subcontractors had been hired by the general contractor engaged in the repaving of certain portions of I-95 under a contract with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The plaintiff's employer, Coleman Trucking, had been hired to transport asphalt from the general contractor's plant to the jobsite, load asphalt into the paving machines, and haul the millings from the jobsite back to the plant.
The defendant subcontractor had been hired to help clear the roadway of asphalt after it was loosened by the milling machines.
The issue on appeal was whether the plaintiff's employer, Coleman Trucking, was engaged in the trade, business, or occupation of the general contractor. The trial court had held that Coleman Trucking was only engaged in a function which was as a supplier or deliverer of goods and to haul off goods, and was not engaged in the trade, business or occupation of the general contractor.
The Virginia Supreme Court disagreed. It reasoned that:
Coleman Trucking was not merely delivering its own independently manufactured parts. Rather, it was hauling asphalt millings to Virginia Paving’s plant and delivering the recycled asphalt from the plant back to the road project to be used in new paving. Clearly, similar to the defendant in Peck, Coleman “was engaged in an essential part of the work that [Virginia Paving] was required to perform under its contract with [VDOT.]” See 262 Va. at 528, 551 S.E.2d at 330.
Coleman Trucking was not a stranger to the work of Virginia Paving, and its employee, Talley, was a statutory employee of Virginia Paving. . . .