Temp agency supplied workers, can claim on bond, Tex. SC rules

Rob Luke Jun. 14, 2007, 8:00am

Justice David Medina

AUSTIN -- An agency that placed temporary workers at a construction site "furnished labor" under state statute, the Texas Supreme Court ruled recently.

That means the Corpus Christi office of Tyler-based Advance'd Temporaries can collect a disputed payment from a general contractor. A sub-contractor hired workers from Advance'd and then failed to fully reimburse the agency.

In Reliance National Indemnity Co. and Lamar Consdtruction, Inc. v. Advance'd Temporaries, Inc. (docket# 05-0558) the Supreme Court affirmed a Court of Appeals ruling. That, in turn, overruled a trial court finding against the agency.

The trial judge ruled that Advance'd was not entitled to sue against Lamar's surety bond under the so-called 'mechanic's lien' statute. The judge decided that Advance'd did not "furnish labor" but merely "extended credit" to Lamar's subcontractor.

But the Texas Supreme Court sided with the Court of Appeals in ruling that Advance'd did furnish labor as defined under the mechanic's lien. However, the SC did "not agree with the court of appeals' analysis in all respects," wrote Justice David M. Medina.

However, "the evidence conclusively establishes that Advance'd was the employer and ... responsible for the worker's pay and benefits." Thus "the court of appeals did not err in its legal conclusion that Advance'd was entitled to a mechanic's lien," Medina added.

Advance'd also operates temporary employment offices in Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and Garland.

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