Maine Worker’s Compensation Appellate Division Explains “Lent Employee” Doctrine

In a recent decision, the Appellate Division of the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board was asked to decide whether an employment relationship can exist between a “special” (or borrowing) employer and an employee where no employment relationship exists between the “general” (or lending) employer and that employee. Malpass v. Gibbons, et al. App. Div. 13-0043. In this case, a member of a framing crew asked an independent contractor at another job site for help with lifting a wall. During the lift, the wall fell, injuring the independent contractor. The Appellate Division found no employment relationship between the contractor and the supposed lending employer. Citing Torsey’s Case, 153 A. 807 (Me. 1931), the Appellate Division found that, where there is no employment relationship between a worker and his supposed lending employer, there can be no “transfer” of employment, and therefore no employment relationship can be created between the worker and the borrowing employer under the lent employee doctrine.