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N.C. Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Burns

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

December 16, 2014

NORTH CAROLINA FARM BUREAU MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Plaintiff
v.
ANDREW BURNS, GRAYSON BURNS, and JACKSON BURNS, a minor by and through his Guardian ad Litem, JOEL GATES HARRIS, Defendants

Heard in the Court of Appeals: November 17, 2014.

Appeal by plaintiff from order entered 1 May 2014 by Judge Robert H. Hobgood in Wake County Superior Court, No. 13 CVS 6901.

Young Moore and Henderson, P.A., by Robert C. deRosset and Brian O. Beverly, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Coy E. Brewer, Jr. for Defendant-Appellee Jackson Burns.

BELL, Judge. Chief Judge McGEE and Judge Robert C. HUNTER concur.

OPINION

Page 110

BELL, Judge.

Plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action against Defendants, requesting that the court declare the rights and obligations of the parties pursuant to a Commercial General Liability Insurance Policy, including that Defendant Greyson Burns[1] was not an insured under the policy for any personal injury claim made against him by Defendant Jackson Burns in relation to an accident that occurred on 13 February 2009. The trial court granted Defendant Jackson Burns' motion for summary judgment and denied Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, concluding that Jackson Burns was not a " volunteer worker" as a matter of law. Plaintiff gave timely appeal to this Court. After a careful review of the record and the applicable law, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

I. Factual Background

A. Substantive Facts

Defendant Andrew Burns is married to Brenda Burns and the two have three sons: Greyson, the oldest, Dillon, the middle child, and Jackson, the youngest. Andrew and Brenda Burns own J-Ham Farms, a business started by Andrew Burns' parents. J-Ham Farms engages primarily in the purchasing and re-selling of grain. Andrew Burns is the named insured of Plaintiff's Commercial General Liability Insurance policy number GL0446104.

In 2009, twenty-year-old Greyson was employed by J-Ham Farms. His job duties included, among other duties, cleaning grain bins. Although both sixteen-year-old Dillon and eleven-year-old Jackson helped out around the business, neither was paid for any labor provided in 2009.

On 13 February 2009, Greyson went inside one of the business's grain bins to clean it out. The grain bin was designed with three holes in the floor. Grain would be pulled through the open holes by an auger[2] below the bin. Between 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., Mr. Burns told Jackson " to go around and help his brothers finish up the grain bin because [they were] going to have to leave shortly to go to [a] meeting" that was scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. Greyson did not have to give any instructions to his brothers on cleaning the bin other than telling them on which side of the bin to begin cleaning because all of the brothers had been trained by their father and had helped sweep the bins in the past. It was typical for Jackson to be asked to help clean the grain bins.

As Jackson was sweeping, he accidentally stepped into one of the holes in the floor of the bin. ...


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