Daniel and Gladys Walker appeal the final summary judgment entered in favor of United Steel Works, Inc. in their tort action against it. We affirm.
The parties stipulated to the facts that Daniel Walker was injured while in the course and scope of his employment with Bar Fab of Florida, Inc., which had a subcontract with United to erect the steel at an elementary school. Daniel received workers' compensation benefits from Bar Fab's workers' compensation carrier.
The Walkers brought the instant action against United, alleging that Daniel's injuries were caused by United's careless and negligent loading and maintenance of the steel supports on a flatbed truck. The injuries resulted when the supports toppled from the truck onto him. United answered and filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that it was immune from tort liability by virtue of Florida's Worker's Compensation Law. The trial court agreed with United and entered a final summary judgment in its favor.
By this appeal, the Walkers contend that since the contract between Bar Fab and United required only Bar Fab to provide workers' compensation coverage for its employees, chapter 440 affords United no immunity from their negligence action against it. They cite support for this contention in the last phrase of subsection 440.10(1), Florida Statutes (1989):
The Walkers' interpretation of subsection 440.10(1) is not correct. United is entitled to immunity from the Walkers' suit because it was the statutory employer of Bar Fab's employees. In other words, it is the fact of liability that renders United immune from suit under chapter 440, not the fact that its carrier did not actually pay Daniel's worker's compensation benefits. As this court explained the functioning of sections 440.10 and 440.11 in Abernathy v. Employers Ins. of Wausau, 428 So.2d 272, 273-274 (Fla.2d DCA 1982), approved, Employers Ins. of Wausau v. Abernathy, 442 So.2d 953 (Fla. 1983),
See also Motchkavitz v. L.C. Boggs Industries, Inc., 407 So.2d 910, 912-913 (Fla.
DANAHY, A.C.J., and FRANK, J., concur.