Alvarez v. Seaside Transportation Services, LLC

A defendant meets its initial burden on summary judgment by showing that plaintiff suffered a workplace injury while employed by an independent contractor that defendant hired; plaintiff then bears the burden of producing evidence that defendant retained control over the way the contractor performed its work or over workplace safety.  Privette v. Superior Court, 5 Cal. 4th 689 (1993), creates a rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of producing evidence that the hirer of an independent contractor has not retained control over the means and manner by which the independent contractor performs the work, and thus the hirer’s non-liability for injuries incurred by the independent contractor’s employees in the course of that work.  Accordingly, simply by introducing evidence that it hired the plaintiff’s employer as an independent contractor and that plaintiff was injured at work, the hirer meets its initial burden in moving for summary judgment in a suit by the independent contractor’s employee for workplace injuries.  The plaintiff then bears the burden of producing evidence of an exception to the Privette rule—either that the defendant retained control over workplace safety or over the manner in which the independent contractor performed the work, or failed to supply a safety measure it promised to provide.

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 8 (Sortino, J., sitting by assignment); July 20, 2017; 2017 WL 3083926


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