At the crux of the prosecution's argument was what's become a familiar one in California's wars over workers' rights — that Czirban was Reagan's employer.
"We are aware of the underground economy. That was a theme in this case," said John Hubanks, Monterey County deputy district attorney, in a courthouse interview after the verdict was read.
"We felt pretty clearly that he was the employer. The law, under the facts in this case, was very clear," Hubanks said, adding that Czirban owned the bulldozer that Reagan was driving when he died, he paid people to drive it and he signed a contract for his company to do business with Cal Fire.
In court arguments, Hubanks argued that Czirban filed a false workers' comp insurance certificate, leading Cal Fire officials to believe they were hiring a firm abiding by the rules.
Hubanks said the fact that Czirban was convicted of not having workers comp means that he may have to pay restitution to Kemple and her two children.
"To me that was the crux of the case," Hubanks said. "I'm hoping the court will do the right thing and grant restitution."
The judge found Czirban not guilty of insurance fraud and filing a false workers' compensation exemption.
Czirban is due to be sentenced Dec. 13. Along with restitution, he faces the possibility of time behind bars in the county jail and probation, according to Hubanks.
Czirban's attorney argued that Reagan was not a traditional employee, but instead a contractor and that Czirban did not file false information or mislead anyone.
His attorney, Daniel Olmos, declined to comment after the hearing.