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Rivera v. Green Giant Co.

Decided: November 22, 1966.

JUAN ANTONIO RIVERA, PETITIONER-RESPONDENT,
v.
GREEN GIANT COMPANY, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT



Gaulkin, Lewis and Labrecque. The opinion of the court was delivered by Lewis, J.A.D.

Lewis

The Division of Workmen's Compensation determined that New Jersey had jurisdiction to entertain petitioner's claim for compensation arising from a work-connected accident which occurred in Maryland. The sole issue tried was that of jurisdiction. Since a number of other claims that stem from the same accident are pending before the Division, we granted leave to appeal.

The principal parties involved are:

Department of Labor, Migration Division, of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (herein Migration Division). It recruits and registers laborers for seasonal farm employment on the mainland of the United States.

Glassboro Service Association, Inc. (herein Association), a New Jersey corporation, which acts as a migrant workers supply agency for agricultural farms in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania, and is represented in Puerto Rico by Garden State Service Cooperative Association, Inc. (herein Garden State).

Appellant Green Giant Company (herein Green Giant), a Minnesota corporation, which operates farms in Delaware and Maryland.

Petitioner Juan Antonio Rivera, one of several Puerto Rican workers who, on June 20, 1964, were involved in a bus accident while in the employ of Green Giant.

On February 29, 1964 the Association, by its agent Garden State, executed in Puerto Rico a so-called master agreement captioned, "Agreement Between Employers and Puerto Rican Agricultural Workers -- 1964." The document, approved by the Puerto Rican Secretary of Labor, is printed in Spanish and English and provides, inter alia: "Employer" means the "Association"; the term "Grower" means a member of the Association who has agreed to be bound by the terms and conditions of the agreement. The workers are recruited to work only for the Association or a grower as defined in the contract, and the Association is required to guarantee them minimum hours of agricultural or related work under specified standards and approved conditions. Employment compensation is to be calculated by the Association and the termination and discharge procedure can be effected only at its camp. Both Association and grower are to maintain work records, assume responsibility to the workers for stated services and privileges, and "bring and maintain the Worker within the jurisdiction of the Workmen's Compensation Laws of the State in which the Worker shall be employed." In a concluding paragraph it is agreed that the Association and grower "shall at all times be jointly and severally responsible for the terms of this Agreement."

On March 27, 1964 Association entered into a contract with Green Giant, therein referred to as "Employer," under which the latter proposed to employ 585 agricultural workers to be supplied by the Association, for the period of April 15, 1964 through June 30, 1964. Green Giant agreed to pay 5 I/2% of its gross payroll as its share of the cost of operating the Association's camp at Glassboro, New Jersey, and expressly assumed all obligations of the Association under the master agreement.

On June 1, 1964 Rivera, who had previously registered with the Migration Division for agricultural labor in the United

States, signed and received a copy of the master agreement. Thereafter, on the same day, he was flown with a group of 80 to 90 workers to Kennedy Airport. From New York, the men ...


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