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Summary judgment was properly granted to defendant in this case.  Plaintiff's decedent was employed by an independent contractor defendant hired for highway repairs.  The contract with the contractor expressly delegated maintaining worker safety to the contractor.  That the defendant retained authority to approve work quality and acceptability and the manner of performance of the work did not change the applicability… Read More

The hirer of an independent contractor may, despite the Privette doctrine, be liable for injuries suffered by the contractor's employees if the hirer furnishes faulty equipment and asks or requires the contractor or its employees to use that equipment.  But not so if the hirer merely allows the contractor or its employees to use the faulty equipment.  In the latter… Read More

During construction of a development in South Lake Tahoe, a worker for a subcontractor slipped on an icy floor, falling from a ladder and injuring himself.  This decision holds that the trial court granted defendant summary judgment based on the Privette doctrine which bars claims by an injured worker for an independent contractor against the hirer of that contractor.  This… Read More

The district court erred in certifying a plaintiff class in this case challenging defendant's classification of its property preservation workers as independent contractors and asserting claims for overtime pay and expense reimbursement.  Plaintiffs could not prove fact of damage--not just amount of damage--by common evidence since some class members had not worked overtime or incurred reimbursable business expenses.  The district… Read More

Best Buy is not liable for an independent contractor's negligent installation of a Best Buy washer on the plaintiff's premises which resulted in extensive water damage.  Best Buy hired firm 1 to transport Best Buy products to purchasers' properties.  Firm 1 contracted with local transportation companies to provide the actual transportation and installation services.  The local company that transported and… Read More

Ordinarily, a person who hires an independent contractor is not liable for injuries suffered by the contractor's employees on the job.  Privette v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 689.  In Kinsman v. Unocal Corp. (2005) 37 Cal.4th 659, the court held that a landowner who hires an independent contractor can be held liable for injuries to workers caused by latent… Read More

A new trial may properly be ordered on the sole issue of the comparative fault of various defendants, and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in doing so here when there was much evidence that independent contractor defendant was far more at fault than hirer defendant for failing to warn plaintiff that a circuit breaker was still engaged—yet… Read More