CP# 98-22505 Grebowicz v. All American Roofing Decision 2
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
DIVISION OF WORKERS’ COMPENSATION
ALL AMERICAN ROOFING,
NO. C.P. 98-022505
HONORABLE RENEE C. RICCIARDELLI
Judge of Compensation
TEICH, GROH, FROST & ZINDLER, ESQS.
By: MICHAEL W. KRUTMAN, ESQ.
Attorney for the Petitioner
PARKER, MCCAY & CRISCUOLO, ESQS.
By: CARL J. GREGORIO, ESQ.
Attorney for the Respondent
In this matter the present question is which law should pertain, that being the law of New Jersey or the law of Delaware. It should be noted that I had issued an opinion on this matter and this issue previously based upon stipulations of fact that were presented to the court by the attorney for Mr. Grebowicz and the attorney for All American Roofing. Based upon these stipulations, I found that the law of the State of New Jersey was predominate in this matter and that the equities of this case required that New Jersey law pertain.
Subsequent to my decision, I received a letter from R. Scott DeVaney, who is the President of All American Roofing, indicating that he disagreed with the stipulation of fact as presented by his attorney and he requested that I reconsider my decision.
As a result, I agreed to allow all American Roofing to provide further information that it felt was contrary to the stipulations of fact.
Mr. DeVaney then hired different counsel, Carl Gregorio. Mr. DeVaney testified on January 28, 2002 regarding the project on which Mr. Grebowicz was injured. Mr. DeVaney indicated that he had a large roofing project that needed to be done, that he had not received any bids on the roofing contract since it was a very large contract. He indicated that Mr. Jakowiak, is the respondent in the consolidated matter. Mr. DeVaney testified that Mr. Jakowiak along with his wife came to his office, that Mr. Jakowiak told him that he could handle the job and that he would handle the job by himself. On cross-examination Mr. DeVaney was asked if that was unusual and why he though that Mr. Jakowiak could handle the job himself and he merely indicated that is what the man told me, that he could do it and I assumed that he could do it. He also testified that he did not go to the worksite, did not see the work being performed. All he knows is that the work was performed, that it was performed properly and that the place was cleaned up after the job was completed.
Mr. DeVaney said that he never does any work in the State of New Jersey. He has no business ties in New Jersey, he does not buy supplies from New Jersey and most of his work is done in Delaware. He has, on occasion, worked in Pennsylvania. Mr. DeVaney testified that he asked Mr. Jakowiak if he had Workers’ Compensation insurance to which Mrs. Jakowiak replied yes. He said that as a matter of course he always asks his subcontractors if they have insurance. He also indicated that if the contractor did not have insurance, he would not hire him. He stated that when he explained that it was a very difficult job to do, that Mrs. Jakowiak said “My husband is a hard worker. He works by himself.” Mr. DeVaney testified that he never met petitioner, Mr. Grebowicz, in this matter. He did not know where Mr. Grebowicz was hired and he was not sure if Mr. Grebowicz actually worked on the job and was not aware of an accident occurring on the job.
He did testify that he does not check on Workers’ Compensation insurance until the project is completed and the subcontractor comes and asks for payment. He did, however, testify that when it came time for payment to Mr. Jakowiak, that Mr. Jakowiak came to his office with another gentleman and asked that the payment be made to the other gentleman, a Mr. Wolinski. Mr. DeVaney’s testimony was “At the time that he requested payment, he came to my office with another gentleman and asked me if I would write the check to that other gentleman.
The court: Who was that gentleman?
Witness: That was A. Wolinski. He had a policy for Workers’ Compensation insurance. The court: Who’s he?
Witness. A. Wolinski had a Workers’ Comp policy at the time and he showed me one. So I wrote the check to A. Wolinski for that particular job.
It should also be noted that during his testimony Mr. DeVaney said “I thought no man could do this job by himself. And I thought he is hard worker for him to tackle a job like this. It was a lot. It wasn’t the average job.”
None of the evidence presented by Mr. DeVaney convinces me that I should alter my opinion as to which state’s law should pertain in this matter.
The analysis of the choice of law question was put forth in my previous decision and is incorporated herein. Mr. DeVaney admitted that the job was very difficult and that he was surprised that one person would agree to do that job by himself. He also admitted that he asked about Workers’ Compensation insurance since the law of Delaware requires the subcontractors to have insurance. However, he did not request proof of said insurance until the job was over. And as a matter of fact when the job was over he found out that Mr. Jakowiak did not have insurance and that the payment for the job was to be made to a Mr. Wolinski since Mr. Wolinski, in fact, had insurance. This should have raised a red flag to Mr. DeVaney that perhaps there was an injury on the job for why else would Mr. Jakowiak be concerned regarding the insurance issue except for the fact that someone was injured on the job.
Therefore, I find again that the law of the State of New Jersey prevails in this matter and this matter will be listed as a pretrial to determine liability and extent thereto.
Renee C. Ricciardelli
Judge of Compensation
March 2, 2004