Truck Driver For Cattle Feeding Operation Was Ag Laborer Not Covered By Workers' Compensation.

The defendant is a family-owned farming business (member-managed LLC) that raises, fattens and sells its own cattle.  It does not carry workers' compensation insurance because it is a privately owned agricultural business.  The defendant hired the plaintiff in 2007 as a truck driver to haul cattle and feed.  In 2012, the defendant was hauling feed for the defendant when he slipped on ice and injured himself becoming totally and permanently disabled for Social Security disability purposes.  The plaintiff sued to recover for his disability and the defendant moved for summary judgment as exempt from the requirement to purchase workers' compensation insurance under S.D.C.L. Sec. 62-3-15 which exempts "farm or agricultural laborers" from the workers' compensation system.  The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendant.  On appeal, the court affirmed.  The court  examined the overall nature of the plaintiff's work with respect to the employer's business and determined that the totality of the circumstances revealed that the work was agricultural in nature.  The defendant's business was exclusively agricultural and not commercial in nature.  Hofer v. Redstone Feeders, LLC, No. 2794, 2015 S.D. LEXIS 128 (Sept. 30, 2015).      

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