Hirer Liability To Contractors' Employees Limited - Court Rejects Plaintiff's Retained Control and Premises Liability Theories
March 28, 2019
Johnson v. The Raytheon Co.
(published March 27, 2019, B281411)
Plaintiff, the employee of a contractor hired by Raytheon, was injured while using the top half of an extension ladder that slipped out from under plaintiff as he used it. Plaintiff sued Raytheon alleging it negligently failed to ensure that the ladder was safe for plaintiff’s use.
The Court of Appeal held Raytheon could not be liable either on a retained control or premises liability theory because another, safe ladder was available in a nearby storage room, but plaintiff opted not to use it. The court also held a hirer may reasonably assume a contractor will conduct a reasonable inspection of the equipment at a work site used in work-related activities.
The Court of Appeal opinion is particularly significant because the extent of hirer liability under both retained control and premises liability theories is now pending before the Supreme Court in Gonzalez v. Mathis (S247677) and Sandoval v. Qualcomm (S252796). Horvitz & Levy represents Qualcomm in Sandoval and filed an amicus brief on behalf of the defendant homeowner in Gonzalez.