PEO Services provided SMJ Environmental with laborers to perform asbestos removal at construction sites. SMJ hired Feliz Amado Jara as one such laborer, retained the right to control and direct his work, and furnished him with the equipment necessary to do his job. When PEO could no longer provide SMJ with workers’ compensation coverage, SMJ obtained a policy from Frontier Insurance, which was reinsured by Clarendon National.
Jara was injured on the job and submitted a claim for workers’ compensation to SMJ. The workers’ compensation law judge determined that SMJ was Jara’s sole employer and that Clarendon National, as the reinsurer of Frontier, was liable for the payment of benefits. On appeal, the court affirmed the finding regarding the employment relationship as having been supported by substantial evidence. The court also rejected the insurers’ argument that the workers’ compensation coverage covered only four employees, since the only specific exclusion was in the policy was for SMJ’s president. Jara v. SMJ Environmental, Inc., Case No. 500512 (N.Y. App. Div. Oct. 30, 2008).