a. What arguments could Jaeger make for claiming that Petragallo was an employee of Western?
Western Rivers Fly Fisher (Western) operates under license of the U.S. Forest Service as an “outfitter,” a corporation in the business of arranging fishing expeditions on the Green River in Utah. Michael D. Petragallo is licensed by the Forest Service as a guide to conduct fishing expeditions but cannot do so by himself, because the Forest Service licenses only outfitters to float patrons down the Green River. Western and several other licensed outfitters contact Petragallo to guide clients on fishing trips. Because the Forest Service licenses only outfitters to sponsor fishing expeditions, every guide must display on the boat and vehicle he uses the insignia of the outfitter sponsoring the particular trip. Petragallo may agree or refuse to take individuals Western refers to him, and Western does not restrict him from guiding expeditions for other outfitters. Western pays Petragallo a certain sum per fishing trip and does not make any deductions from his compensation. Petragallo’s responsibilities include transporting patrons to the Green River, using his own boat for fishing trips, providing food and overnight needs for patrons, assisting patrons in fly fishing, and transporting them from the river to their vehicles. Robert McMaster contacted Western and arranged for a fishing trip for him and two others. Jaeger was a member of McMaster’s fishing party. McMaster paid Western, which set the price for the trip, planned the itinerary for the McMaster party, rented fishing rods to them, and arranged for Petragallo to be their guide. When Petragallo met the McMaster party, he answered affirmatively when the plaintiff asked him if he worked for Western. Petragallo provided his own vehicle and boat and supplied the food, equipment, and gasoline for the trip. Both the vehicle and the boat had signs bearing Western’s identification and logo. While driving the McMaster party back to town at the conclusion of the fishing trip, Petragallo lost control of his vehicle and got into an accident, injuring Jaeger.
b. What arguments could Western make for claiming that Petragallo was an independent contractor?
c. Which side should prevail?
Before the start of the trip,Individual J's group asked Guide P if the individual worked for Company W to which Individual P responded positively.
The use of Company W's symbol on the boat indicated that the ownership of the boat lies with Company W. Company W fixes the fishing trip on its own and informs Guide P afterwards, thereby making it contrary to the fact stating that Company W allows Guide P to choose individuals for fishing trip. All this indicates that Guide P is an employee of Company W and not an individual contractor.
Individual J could make the following statements:
On asking, Guide P said that the individual works for Company W.
Guide P uses Company W's symbol on the boat, which reflects that the individual is a member of Company W.
Company W contacts Guide P only after fixing the trip and does not involve Guide P while fixing the trip.
Company W can argue on the basis that it does not hold any control over the performance of the fishing trip conducted by Guide P. The boat, food, and fuel were all provided by Guide P. Company W does not imply any regulation on these commodities.
Guide P can accept or reject the persons referred by Company W to take to the trip.The law of Country U’s forest service restricts the guide to conduct fishing trip on its own and allows only outfitters to perform it and sponsor it.For this reason, the outfitters use their Company W’s symbol on the boat.
Company W could make the following statements:
Company W does not exercise any control over the manner or way the fishing trip is conducted by Guide P.
It is Country U’s forest service law that allows only outfitters to sponsor a fishing trip.
Guide P can accept or reject individuals for the trip.
There is lack of satisfactory evidence that can define the relationship between Company W and Guide P. Individual J’s argument is based on the fact that Guide P has agreed that he is the employee of Company W. However, the actual facts are not known to Individual J.
Guide P cannot be considered to bean individual contractor based on the fact that Company W exercises control over Guide P by advertising and arranging trips for them. Company W contacts Guide P only after fixing the tour and not while fixing the tour.
Guide P cannot be considered an employee of Company W based on the fact that employees earn a fixed salary and work under and in guidance of the employer. Guide P does not work under company Was Guide P conducts the trips on their own terms, provides boat, food, equipment,and fuel to patrons of their own, and is paid a fixed sum for a particular trip. Guide P can even refuse patrons that Company W refers to them.
The relationship between company W and guide P is bit confusing as it is neither of principal and individual contractor nor of employer and employee.
The reasons for success of each party are as follows:
Individual J can succeed as the relationship between Guide P and Company Was a principal and individual contractor cannot be proved.
Company W can succeed as the relationship between the company and Guide P as of an employer and employee cannot be proved.