IN RE: Gregory J. PARISI

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, New York.

IN RE: Gregory J. PARISI, Appellant. Commissioner of Labor, Respondent.

Decided: August 07, 2008

Before:  CARDONA, P.J., SPAIN, ROSE, LAHTINEN and MALONE JR., JJ. Michele S. Russo, Port Washington, for appellant. Andrew M. Cuomo, Attorney General, New York City (Mary Hughes of counsel), for respondent.

Appeal from a decision of the Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board, filed July 2, 2007, which assessed Gregory J. Parisi for additional unemployment insurance contributions.

Gregory J. Parisi is an attorney who operates his own law practice.   In connection therewith, he retained various attorneys to perform services on behalf of his clients, including making court appearances, conducting depositions, handling discovery and preparing written motions and legal memoranda.   The Unemployment Insurance Appeal Board ruled that these attorneys were Parisi's employees and it assessed him for additional unemployment insurance contributions as a result.   Parisi now appeals.

 Initially, it is well settled that the existence of an employer-employee relationship is a factual issue for the Board to decide and its determination will not be disturbed if supported by substantial evidence (see Matter of Concourse Ophthalmology Assoc. [Roberts], 60 N.Y.2d 734, 736, 469 N.Y.S.2d 78, 456 N.E.2d 1201 [1983];  Matter of Seneca Nation of Indians [Sweeney], 247 A.D.2d 732, 733, 669 N.Y.S.2d 85 [1998] ).   In a case such as this involving the rendering of professional services, an employment relationship will be found if there is “ ‘substantial evidence of control over important aspects of the services performed other than results or means' ” (Matter of International Student Exch. [Commissioner of Labor], 302 A.D.2d 834, 835, 756 N.Y.S.2d 320 [2003], quoting Matter of Concourse Ophthalmology Assoc. [Roberts], 60 N.Y.2d at 736, 469 N.Y.S.2d 78, 456 N.E.2d 1201;  see Matter of Singh [Thomas A. Sirianni, Inc.-Commissioner of Labor], 43 A.D.3d 498, 499, 840 N.Y.S.2d 245 [2007] ).   In the case at hand, Parisi instructed the attorneys with respect to the work to be performed on his clients' files and paid them an agreed-upon hourly rate which was not dependent on receiving payment from the clients.   After the attorneys performed the services, they reported back to Parisi.   Inasmuch as Parisi retained overall control of the attorneys' services, substantial evidence supports the Board's finding of an employment relationship (see Matter of Spinnell [Commissioner of Labor], 300 A.D.2d 770, 751 N.Y.S.2d 643 [2002] ).   This is so notwithstanding the existence of evidence in the record that supports a contrary conclusion (see Matter of Singh [Thomas A. Sirianni, Inc.-Commissioner of Labor], 43 A.D.3d at 499, 840 N.Y.S.2d 245).

ORDERED that the decision is affirmed, without costs.

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