Mill Street Church of Christ v. Hogan

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Mill Street Church of Christ v. Hogan
Date decided

Facts: Church hired Bill Hogan to paint church. Church had decided that Gary Petty would be hired to assist if needed, but did not advise Bill Hogan. Bill Hogan painted most of church by himself. When he needed assistance at the end of painting, Bill Hogan discussed the matter of a helper with Dr. Waggoner, an Elder of the Church. Waggoner discussed possibility of hiring Petty, but never said that Bill Hogan was required to hire Petty. Bill Hogan hired his brother, Sam Hogan to assist him paint the last portion of the church. After working for 1/2 hour, Sam Hogan fell and broke his arm, and was treated in the local hospital and by a surgeon in St. Louis.

Bill Hogan reported the accident and was informed by Payne, a Church treasurer, that the church had insurance. Bill Hogan received his check for the number of hours worked including Sam Hogan's 1/2 hour. The Hogans used the Church's tools for the project.

Procedural History: Sam Hogan filed a claim under the Worker's Compensation Act, of which the Church is an insured employer. Old board ruled that Hogan was not an employee. New board ruled that Hogan was an employee.

Issue: Did Bill Hogan possess implied authority as an agent to hire Sam Hogan?

Holding: Bill Hogan did have implied authority.

Reasons: In the past, Bill was given authority to hire assistants whenever needed. Bill was not informed that the present case was any different. Also, hiring an assistant was necessary to complete the job for which Bill was hired. Sam relied that Bill had authority to hire him.

Judgment: Affirmed.

Comments: Implied Authority: actual authority circumstantially proven which the principal actually intended the agent to possess and includes such powers as are practically necessary to carry out the duties actually delegated.

Apparent Authority: not actual authority, but the authority the agent is held out by the principal as possessing. A matter of appearances on which third parties come to rely.