Employee or Independent Contractor?

AMC Looks to Erase $8.6 Million Verdict in ‘Walking Dead’ Stunt Death 

Image by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay

From Variety, Gene Maddaus reports that AMC Networks is arguing that a stuntman’s death should be processed as a workers compensation claim rather than a civil lawsuit because the stuntman was an employee and not an independent contractor. Gene writes:

The defendants appealed to the Third Division of the Georgia Court of Appeals, arguing that Bernecker should have been considered an employee, not an independent contractor. That would have forced Bernecker’s parents to go through Georgia’s workers’ compensation system, rather than getting a civil judgment.

A three-judge panel heard arguments on Thursday morning.

“Clearly Mr. Bernecker assumed the risk of his injuries,” said David Dial, arguing for the appellants. “He’s trained in fact to the assume the risk, and he assumed the risk.”

Dial argued that Bernecker’s contract repeatedly referred to him as an “employee,” and that the lower court should have relied on that in settling the issue.

Jeff Harris, representing Bernecker’s mother, urged the appellate judges not to second-guess the jury, which found that Bernecker was an independent contractor. Harris noted that Bernecker received a 1099 tax form, was paid through his loan-out company, was admitted on set as a “visitor,” and worked on a day-by-day basis for various productions.

“All of that screams ‘independent contractor,’” Harris said.

Read the full story at  AMC Looks to Erase $8.6 Million Verdict in ‘Walking Dead’ Stunt Death – Variety

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