Estate of Cole v. Girl Scouts of Maine

Insurance Company

Maine Employers' Mutual Insurance Company

Date Decided

November 2, 2015

Panel Members

David Hirtle

Sue Jerome

Tom Pelletier


Employee / er Definitions



File Size

98 KB


Summary from the Troubh Heisler Attorneys

Mr. Cole and his surviving spouse filed for benefits pertaining to a head injury he suffered while working for the Girl Scouts. The case was bifurcated to decide whether Mr. Cole was an employee under the Act. Judge Stovall issued a decree that Mr. Cole was an employee at the relevant time. The Girls Scouts appealed, arguing that the determination that Mr. Cole was an employee and not a volunteer was not supported with competent evidence.

The panel affirmed Judge Stovall’s decision that Mr. Cole was an employee under the Act at the time of injury. The Act defines “employee,” in part as “every person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written.” Section 102(11). The judge found as fact that the Girl Scouts offered Mr. Cole employment, he performed services for them, and he received payment for his services. There was competent, credible evidence from Mr. Cole and his wife that he was offered a part-time job by the Girl Scouts in the summer. The panel rejected the Girl Scouts’ argument that the yearly payments to Mr. Cole were an honorarium paid gratuitously in recognition of his services as a volunteer, and, therefore, not payment for work.

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