Saturday, March 31, 2012

Independent contractors can be agents

Our research on the role of an independent contractor as an agent has turned up a potentially misleading assertion in Missouri case law, namely that "[o]ne cannot be an independent contractor and at the same time be an agent for the same purposes."Jeff-Cole Quarries, Inc. v. Bell, 454 S.W.2d 5, 14 (Mo. 1970); Rackers & Baclesse, Inc. v. Kinstler, 497 S.W.2d 549, 552 (Mo.App.1973); Crist Sod Co. v. Bruce, 599 S.W.2d 43, 45 (Mo.App. E.D.1980). Although we presume that in those cases the court properly found that the independent contractor was not an agent, it is plain that an independent contractor can be an agent. RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF AGENCY SECTIONS 2, 14N (1958). The Missouri cases stating a conflicting rule have been cited in secondary sources. See William R. Mureiko, Note, The Agency Theory of the Attorney-Client Relationship: An Improper Justification for Holding Clients Responsible for their Attorneys' Procedural Errors, 1988 Duke L.J. 733, 754 n. 44 (1988); 2A C.J.S. Agency Section 17 (2003).

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