Khosh v. Staples Construction Co., Inc.

In lawsuit by a subcontractor’s worker who was injured on the job, summary judgment was properly entered in favor of defendant general contractor, because a general is not responsible for injuries to a sub’s workers unless the general either contributed to the injury or breached a non-delegable duty it owed to the worker, and neither of those exceptions applied here.  Summary judgment was properly entered in favor of defendant general contractor in suit by a subcontractor’s worker who was injured on the job.  Under Privette v. Superior Court (1993) 5 Cal.4th 689, a general contractor is not usually responsible for injuries to a subcontractor’s workers.  Here, evidence disproved the two exceptions to that rule on which the worker relied.  The general did not retain control and contribute to the injury nor did the general breach a non-delegable duty owed the worker.  Even when, as here, the general retains control over safety at the job site, the general is not liable for a mere failure to correct an unsafe condition, but must engage in some active participation in causing the injury for liability to attach.  The duty to comply with safety regulations was not non-delegable in this case as the applicable regulations did not impose duties on the general that it could not delegate to subs.  Moreover, even were the regulations requiring a workplan and supervisor non-delegable, they did not affirmatively contribute to the accident and so the general could not be held liable for breaching them.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 6 (Tangeman, J.); October 26, 2016; 2016 WL 6247658

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