News On The Delaware Section 2311 Contractor Statute….And A Little Joy In The Morning



By Cassandra Roberts

Okay, it's been a bad week.  I am struggling to recover from the sinus infection from hell and to attack the pile on my desk that accrued while I was home sick.  I am offering for your viewing pleasure our brand new kitty, Nutella Grace.  She has a disposition to rival that of the late great Cupka Marie and frankly could be her twin.  But I digress.  Just as it occurs to me that I am not really up for anything extra this week, like crafting something worthy of the blog, a letter arrives from my respected colleague, Bob Richter of Elzufon, Austin, Tarlov & manna from heaven.  (Did I mention that Nutella Grace is also heaven-sent?)

Getting back to the matter at hand, we are always looking for goodies from the Board on the subject of our relatively new contractor statute, 19 Del. Code Section 2311.  I personally don't think it is the most complete or artfully written statute (like any of them are?) and therefore we rely upon our IAB to put the meat on the bones, if you will.

Here is what Bob Richter has to say about the case:

"The issue was whether my client, Delaware Siding, had an affirmative duty to inquire as to whether the Certificate of Insurance obtained from its subcontractor, Rodriguez Contracting, continued to be valid.  I argued on behalf of Delaware Siding that 19 Del. Code Section 2311(a)(5) required only that the employer obtain a Certificate of Insurance from its sub, which my client did and therefore moved to be dismissed from the case, since we took the position that because Delaware Siding had a Certificate of Insurance from Rodriguez Contracting, it could not be deemed to insure any workers' compensation claim under the Workers' Compensation Act.

The Board agreed with our position, finding that Delaware Siding had complied with the unambiguous meaning of Section 2311(a)(5) and that Delaware Siding did not have an affirmative ongoing duty to assure that the Certificate of Insurance, provided by the subcontracting entity with the appropriate effective dates, continued to be valid."

The case is Reuben Cordero v. Gulfstream Development Corp. and Delaware Siding Company, IAB# 1357959 & 1357671 (2/10/11) (Order).  Written by Hearing Officer Deborah Massaro on behalf of the Board, this is a little piece of heaven on the subject of statutory construction.  Issued with all deliberate speed, Ms. Massaro has decided to take on her fellow Hearing Officer below the canal, Angela "QuickFire" Fowler, in the battle of the rapid pen.

A big thank you to Bob Richter for doing my job this week.  And I know I say this about most of the IAB decisions, but this really is a "must have" for your research drawer.    And while you are at it, take another look at my gorgeous kitty.  Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. [Psalm 30:5]  Is that morning joy or what?

Coming to you from the warm & fuzzy place,
Cassandra Roberts


   Visit Delaware Detour & Frolic, a law blog by Cassandra Roberts




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