DHL is not vicariously liable. Explain whether Silver Ink is an independent contractor as a matter of law.

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DHL is not vicariously liable. Explain whether Silver Ink is an independent contractor as a matter of law.

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Danny Del Pilar sustained injuries when his car collided with a delivery van painted yellow—the widely recognized DHL color—and displaying the DHL name and logo. The truck was driven by a driver wearing a DHL uniform and laden with packages destined for DHL customers. The van was owned not by DHL, but by Johnny Boyd, a driver for Silver Ink, Inc., a local company that was responsible at the time for picking up, sorting, and delivering all DHL packages in metropolitan Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida. Boyd, working for Silver Ink on the DHL contract, was shuttling DHL packages when the accident occurred. DHL’s agreement with Silver Ink essentially delegated to Silver Ink the responsibility to service DHL customers in the Jacksonville area. The contract identified Silver Ink as an “independent contractor” and provided that “the manner and means by which Contractor performs the services shall be at Contractor’s sole discretion and control and are Contractor’s sole responsibility.” The agreement also, however, recited an exhaustive and detailed list of procedures that Silver Ink employees were to follow in processing, picking up, and delivering packages and contained a provision under which Silver Ink was required to indemnify DHL in the event Silver Ink lost or damaged packages bound for DHL’s customers. The agreement gave either party the power to terminate in the event of the other party’s breach. Silver Ink employees were contractually required to “wear a DHL uniform.” Silver Ink was required to submit to unannounced operational inspections and audits at DHL’s sole discretion and was required to maintain a fleet of delivery vans operated in DHL livery, designed and placed on the vehicles in strict accordance with specifications established by DHL. Silver Ink’s operational hub was co-located with DHL’s Jacksonville facility, and DHL employees monitored and reviewed Silver Ink operations on a daily basis. Danny Del Pilar sued DHL for his personal injuries arising from the auto accident. DHL argued that Silver Ink is an independent contractor for whose alleged negligence DHL is not vicariously liable. Explain whether Silver Ink is an independent contractor as a matter of law.

Explanation & AnswerSolution by a verified expert

Verified Answer

The Company S cannot be considered to be an independent contractor because Company D exercises control over the working of Company S. Their relationship is more of an employer-employee relationship rather than of a principal-independent contractor relationship.
In case of an independent contractor, principal does not exercise control over the manner and ways of agent's performance.
In this case, Company Dimplies control over working of Company S as employees of Company D monitor and review functions of Company S on a daily basis.
Company D uses their name and logo in the van owned by Company S's driver and all employees of Company S are required to wear the uniforms that are provided by Company D.

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