OCGA 34-9-8 Georgia Statutory Employer Doctrine
The statutory employer doctrine is based on OCGA 34-9-8, which provides that
(a) a principal, intermediate, or subcontractor shall be liable for compensation to any employee injured while in the employ of any of his subcontractors engaged upon the subject matter of the contract to the same extent as the immediate employer. . . . (d) this Code section shall apply only in cases where the injury occurred on, in, or about the premises on which the principal contractor has undertaken to execute work or which are otherwise under his control or management.
In Manning v. Ga. Power Co., 252 Ga. 404 (314 SE2d 432) (1984) our Supreme Court held that OCGA 34-9-8 does not extend beyond an actual principal contractor:
Owners or entities merely in possession or control of the premises would not be subject to workers' compensation liability as statutory employers, except in the isolated situation where the party also serves as a contractor for yet another entity and hires another contractor to perform the work on the premises. Id. at 406, citing Modlin v. Black & Decker Mfg. Co., 170 Ga. App. 477, 478-479 (317 SE2d 255) (1984).
In Yoho v. Ringier of America, 263 Ga. 338 (434 SE2d 57) (1993). our Supreme Court held that an owner who is merely in possession or control of the premises is not subject to workers' compensation liability as a statutory employer and is not immune from tort liability. Id. at 341.
In so holding, the Court reaffirmed Manning, and reiterated that under that case and Evans v. Hawkins, 114 Ga. App. 120, 123-124 (150 SE2d 324) (1966). "only a 'contractor' can be a statutory employer and an 'owner' cannot be a 'contractor' if the contractual obligation of performance is owed to, rather than by, him." Yoho, supra at 341.
However, an "owner" can attain "contractor" status under OCGA 34-9-8 (a) "in the isolated situation where he also serves as a contractor for yet another entity and hires another contractor to perform the work on the premises." Id., citing Manning, supra at 406.
In Yoho, the court found that Ringier did not serve as a contractor for anyone else and could not contract with itself to do something for its own benefit. Id. at 339-340.
Accordingly, Ringier was not a statutory employer, and, therefore, not immune from liability for appellant's tort claims. Id. at 343.