For Liability Purposes, Is a Student Worker an Employee?

Brian Lindsay, a chemistry major, participated in a summer research program at St. Olaf College. The 10-week program required him to work in a laboratory under the direction of a chemistry professor. Lindsay received a $3,500 stipend and free housing. On July 11, 2002, he was performing a procedure to clean, or "quench," a flask. The flask exploded, spraying chemical materials at Lindsay and setting his clothes on fire. He suffered severe burns. Later, in a Minnesota state court, he sued St.