Mandico v. Taos Constr.
605 So. 2d 850 (Fla. 1992)

Facts:

  • In June 1984, petitioner, Anthony Mandico, was injured while working on a construction project as an independent contractor for respondent Taos Construction, Inc. (Taos).
  • Mandico entered into a written agreement with Taos that provided if he did not have a worker’s compensation insurance policy of his own, seven percent of his gross weekly wages would be deducted for such insurance.
  • Mandico applied for and received benefits under the worker’s compensation policy procured on his behalf by Taos.
  • However, Mandico, later filed a negligence action against Taos and Philmore.
  • Mandico alleged that Taos and its employee had no immunity under section 440.11(1), Florida Statutes (1983) because he was an independent contractor from whose wages Taos had “unilaterally extracted” the cost of the premium for worker’s compensation insurance in violation of section 440.21, Florida Statutes (1983).

Issue:
May a general contractor, who provides worker’s compensation coverage for an independent contractor by deducting the coverage premiums from payments due that independent contractor, claim immunity from the independent contractor’s civil suit for personal injury under the worker’s compensation statute where the independent contractor claimed and recovered worker’s compensation benefits?

Holding:
Yes.

Rule: A general contractor who employs an independent contractor insulates itself from civil liability when, in accordance with the parties’ contract, it procures a workers’ compensation policy for the benefit of the independent contractor by deducting the policy premiums from payments due the independent contractor.

Rule: One who claims and receives workers’ compensation benefits will be found to have elected such compensation as an exclusive remedy where there is evidence of a conscious choice of remedies.