Submitted: June 12, 2018
from United States District Court for the Southern District
of Iowa - Des Moines
LOKEN, ERICKSON, and GRASZ, Circuit Judges.
Quiles was severely injured when Alan Johnson fell asleep at
the wheel and drove his tractor-trailer off I-80 in Adair
County, Iowa. At the time of the accident, Quiles was a new
employee of Swift Transportation Company of Arizona
("Swift"), an interstate motor carrier, who was
completing Swift's commercial driving training program.
Johnson was transporting goods for Swift as an independent
contractor and serving as Quiles's "driving
mentor" in Swift's training program.
Quiles was off-duty in the truck's sleeper berth. After
receiving workers' compensation benefits from Swift,
Quiles brought this diversity action against Johnson,
alleging that Quiles's injuries were caused by
Johnson's negligence in driving the truck. The district
court granted Johnson's motion for summary
judgment, concluding that Quiles was a dual employee of Swift
and Johnson, and therefore workers' compensation benefits
were Quiles's exclusive remedy under the Iowa
workers' compensation statute. Quiles appeals, arguing
that genuine issues of material fact preclude the conclusion
that he was Johnson's employee under Iowa law. Reviewing
the district court's grant of summary judgment de
novo, including its interpretation of state law, we
affirm. See HIP, Inc. v. Hormel Foods Corp., 888
F.3d 334, 338 (8th Cir. 2018) (standard of review).
Swift drivers must complete Swift's commercial driving
training program before they may drive a truck on their own.
Swift hired Quiles as an at-will commercial driving trainee
in November 2014. Swift's Driver Handbook, which Quiles
received and signed during orientation, described the
training program as a mandatory driver-mentor
"apprenticeship program." The program required
Quiles to complete at least two hundred hours of
behind-the-wheel driving with an assigned mentor, who
evaluates the trainee's performance. For the first fifty
hours, the mentor must sit in the passenger seat as the
trainee drives. Thereafter, the trainee and mentor may
"team drive," meaning that while one drives, the
other is off duty and may remain in the truck's sleeper
berth, which increases allowed operating time.
orientation, Quiles completed fifty hours of training with a
mentor but left this relationship and resigned from the
program after the mentor failed to pick Quiles up at a
prearranged location. Swift's driver development
supervisor persuaded Quiles not to leave the program and
assigned him a new mentor, Alan Johnson. Quiles began
training with Johnson in early December 2014. Johnson and
trainee Quiles did not sign a written agreement.
Johnson's contract with Swift allowed him to participate
in Swift's driver-mentor program by paying Swift $.05
"per loaded dispatched mile" driven with a Swift
trainee. The contract provided that a trainee "shall
remain a [Swift] employee during the period of time he/she is
assigned to [Johnson's] truck. Any driver/trainee shall
be considered a loaned employee or borrowed servant under
applicable law." Johnson could not terminate Quiles'
relationship with Swift, but Johnson could refuse to accept
Quiles as a trainee and could discontinue the mentor
relationship at any time. Likewise, Quiles could refuse or
discontinue a mentor relationship at any time.
Quiles had completed fifty hours of training, he and mentor
Johnson were authorized to team drive for the balance of
Quiles's training. When they drove as a team, as on the
day of the accident, each operated under his separate
agreement with Swift. Swift hired Johnson for specific trips
as an independent trucking contractor. Johnson decided when
he would transport shipments for Swift, which determined when
his truck would operate with driver trainee Quiles. Swift
paid trainee Quiles an hourly wage when he rode with mentor
Johnson. Swift's training program required the mentor to
complete a Student Performance Assessment for every fifty
hours of driving completed by the trainee; the trainee was
required to complete Swift's Driver Training Paperwork.
When off duty in the sleeping berth, mentor Johnson could
monitor Quiles' driving via an application on his phone.
All three contracting parties benefitted from this
arrangement -- Johnson received Quiles' labor, permitting
Johnson's truck to operate more hours with team driving.
Quiles received instruction from Johnson, an hourly wage from
Swift when team driving with Johnson, and credit toward
completing the training program. Swift received the benefit
of having shipments delivered with team driving while its
trainee advanced toward becoming an employee qualified to
drive a Swift truck on his own.
an employer's workers' compensation liability is
insured and benefits are recoverable, an action for
workers' compensation benefits is the exclusive remedy
available to an employee against an employer for work-related
injury." Subcliff v. Brandt Engineered Prods.,
Ltd., 459 F.Supp.2d 843, 850 (S.D. Iowa 2006);
see Iowa Code § 85.20(1) (2014). The
workers' compensation statute defines "worker"
or "employee" as "a person who has entered
into the employment of, or works under contract of service,
express or implied, or apprenticeship, for an employer."
§ 85.61(11). The critical issue in determining whether
an injured worker is limited to the exclusive workers'
compensation remedy "is whether the worker entered into
a contract of hire, express or implied." Parson v.
Procter & Gamble Mfg. Co., 514 N.W.2d 891, 893 (Iowa
1994). "The intent of the parties is the overriding
element in determining whether an employment contract
existed." Rouse v. State, 369 N.W.2d 811, 814
(Iowa 1985). "In Iowa, a contract will be implied where
there has been a mutual manifestation of assent by acts and
deeds (rather than words) to the same terms of an
agreement." McBride v. City of Sioux City, 444
N.W.2d 85, 90 (Iowa 1989).
the Iowa statute, as in other States, "an employee may
have more than one employer." Caterpillar Tractor
Co. v. Shook, 313 N.W.2d 503, 506 (Iowa 1981); see
Beaver v. Jacuzzi Bros., Inc., 454 F.2d 284, 285 (8th
Cir. 1972) ("As a matter of common experience and of
present business practices . . . it is clear that an employee
may be employed by more than one employer even while doing
the same work."). A claim of dual employment may be made
by a putative employee seeking workers' compensation
benefits, or by a putative employer seeking to limit the
plaintiff in a tort action to the exclusive workers'
compensation remedy. Dual employment is not contrary to
policies underlying the workers' compensation statute.
"Nothing in the statute prohibits joint employers from
allocating between themselves the responsibility for
obtaining insurance for their mutual workers'
compensation liability." Subcliff, 459
F.Supp.2d at 851. In a dual employment case, the question is
whether an employee of a "general" employer --
here, Swift -- simultaneously served as the employee of a
"special" employer -- here, Johnson. "Although
in Iowa an employee may have two employers, the presumption
is that a general employer, such as [Swift], is the sole
employer." Swanson v. White Consol. Inds.,
Inc., 30 F.3d 971, 974 (8th Cir. 1994); see
Parson, 514 N.W.2d at 894. The sole issue on appeal is
whether the district court erred in concluding that, at the
time of the accident, Quiles was the dual employee of Swift
district court noted, in the great majority of reported dual
employment or "borrowed worker" decisions, the
general employer was a temporary employment agency or broker
in the business of "loaning" its employees to
clients on a temporary basis to do the clients' work for
a fee. Because the broker employed the temporary worker, paid
his or her wages and fringe benefits, and paid premiums to
provide workers' compensation insurance covering the
temporary work, the question was whether the client was a
special employer when the temporary employee suffered a
work-related injury. In Iowa, these cases have turned on a
fact-intensive analysis of whether there was a separate
contract for hire, express or implied, between the employee
and the special employer. See Parson, 514 N.W.2d at
894-97 (no express contract; strong evidence special employer
did not intend to employ; summary judgment for employer
reversed); Fletcher v. Apache Hose & Belting
Co., 519 N.W.2d 839, 840-41 (Iowa App. 1994) (no express
contract but intent to employ temporary worker clear; special
employer prevailed); Jones v. Sheller-Globe Corp.,
487 N.W.2d 88, 93 (Iowa App. 1992) (special employer
prevailed because of its exclusive control over and benefit
from the loaned employee's work; workers ...